Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More images of ICE raid at Sun Valley

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM


As ICE continued to search and arrest people at Sun Valley today, three people observing the raid from the road by the main entrance linked arms and stood in front of one of the white vans, with most of its windows whited out, as it began to exit the company compound onto Upper Bay Road. The three stood there, facing the van. The front doors of the van opened and two ICE men stood up and leaned out.

The woman in the linked-arm group said, "We're here for peace."

One of the ICE men said, "We're here for peace, too."

Soon, a private security guard showed up to confront the trio. He said, "Let these people out."

I didn't hear what one of the three said, but next the guard said, angrily, what sounded like, "I've saved more people in my lifetime and I'm almost 80 years old." Then something unintelligible. And then, "That's why we're free."

The woman in the linked-arm group said, "But we're not free."

And the guard said, "I know what you want!" He walked away.

One of the three said, "Let's walk down the road," and so they turned around and turned right and walked down the road.

The van, meanwhile, let some cars pass -- the traffic out there on that country road was pretty thick -- and then it turned left, in the direction opposite of the linked-arm blockade, and drove away. But a second ICE van, meanwhile, headed for the exit and, not seeing the human-chain protest, turned right and then sat behind them for a while. The three walked on, the van sat in place. Time passed. The three unlinked and wandered to the side of the road. The van drove away.

Meanwhile, just outside the gate, people gathered: a worried-looking Spanish-speaking man who said he had a friend who worked there; two women who arrived with two little boys to find out what was going on, who then waited, watching, while the little boys played and said, "Hi moto" to passing motorcycles. One of the women said she'd heard about the raid on the radio. She said, "My cousin works here. It's so sad."

Another woman arrived to see if she could find out about a family member. She said, "Everybody's here working to feed their family. Also, everything costs too much: the rent, gas, food."

One woman asked spokesperson Virginia Kice, with ICE, where people were being taken to and if their families had been contacted. Kice told her they were being taken to the McKinleyville Coast Guard station, first, but that ICE wasn't "equipped to process them" there so, at some point, the people ICE determined to detain further would be taken to one of its contracted facilities in the area. The woman said she was a U.S. citizen, but her husband was in the process of applying for citizenship and she wondered if he would be detained. Kice gave her a card for the Friends and Family line, that reads in part: "If you believe a family member, relative or friend has been detained by ICE, please call one of the following numbers: (707) 536-8808; (707) 536-8595; (707) 536-7470."

Several people arrived to join others observing, one of whom identified herself as being with Redwood Curtain Copwatch.

A guy named Victor, an HSU student in the environment and community program, videotaped the events as they unfolded. He was angry -- at what was going on, and at how the media reports, or doesn't report, such things, he said. "I'm a student, I'm a Mexican, and I'm never going to forget it," he said. "I'm here because I'm against the capitalist exploitation that takes place at Sun Valley in terms of pesticide use, and exploitation of immigrant labor. And I'm against the separation of families by federal agents."

A man and woman drove by and stopped, asked what was going on.

"ICE raid," someone told them.

The man said, "Oh. We were just coming here to drop her resume off." And they drove away.

Lauren Beaman, who says she works "as a collective with Redwood Curtain Copwatch," and who'd been at the gate earlier then left, returned with bilingual cards -- Tarjeta de Derechos/Rights Card -- she'd photocopied to pass around to people.

Occasionally, Sun Valley workers came and went on foot through the gate. One woman came out, saying, "Some of the people they arrested weren't even on the list" that ICE agents had. "Everyone who is Mexican they took."

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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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