May 30, 2008

ICE Deports Popular Teacher

Never meet with ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) without an immigration attorney! (Randall)

Boston students to ICE We want our teacher back!
Workers World Online

Students, teachers and their allies gathered in Boston May 24 to speak out against the unjust deportation of their beloved teacher, Obain Attouoman, an Ivory Coast citizen. According to, Attouoman was attending a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials at the agencys office in Burlington, Mass., when he was arrested and deported. The exact reason for his deportation at this time is unknown.

Attouoman had been granted a stay of deportation from March 2005 to March 2007, after the highly publicized and well-organized resistance of his students and fellow teachers to an earlier order. Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry along with Rep. Ed Markey had filed legislation that would have granted him permanent residency. The status of this legislation remains unclear.

Mr. Obain, as he is known by his students, was released in March 2005 from a Suffolk County Jail after being jailed for three months on a warrant for deportation. He said that, The agency (ICE) does not look at me as a human being, with a life and feelings and history. What happened to Mr. Obain was just business as usual for Homeland Security and ICE.

From New Bedford to the Bay Area to New Orleans, all across the U.S., Homeland Security and ICE are terrorizing and breaking apart the lives of individuals and families. Last March, ICE arrested 361 people, mostly immigrant women who were employed at a factory in New Bedford, Mass. In August, Elvira Arellano was arrested in Los Angeles and deported back to Mexico. While speaking at a rally her young son, Saul Saulito Arellano said, I want to tell all of you to tell President Bush: Stop the raids! Stop the deportations! Stop the separation of families! These acts of terrorism are happening every single day across this country. Whether we are talking about the unjust denial of a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal or the acquittal of the New York Police Department for the brutal killing of Sean Bell or the racist targeting of immigrants and forced displacement of the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, we need to understand that solidarity is our most potent weapon.

Let us remember the words of the women of the South African National Congress, You have struck a rock. You have dislodged a boulder. You will be crushed! A unified movement will be the boulder that crushes this racist, imperialist system. Report and photo by Miya

The writer is an organizer for Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) and the Womens Fightback Network (WFN) in Boston.

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