New York State Community Groups condemn recent raid at Stewart Airport

Map of NewburghJoint Press Statement on Stewart Airport Raid

December 22, 2009

Milan Bhatt:    845-331-6615
Betsy Palmieri: 914-977-3295

The Worker’s Rights Law Center of NY and Hudson Valley Community Coalition strongly condemn the recent raid at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY.  In the early hours of December 17th, in the midst of the holiday season, over a dozen workers of Empire Warehouse Solutions were swept away and detained in the Orange County Jail, a facility that recently entered into a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The whereabouts of several workers are still unknown. Immigrant and worker advocates are well-aware of the disturbing trend of mass workplace raids in states such as Iowa and Mississippi and increasing cooperation nationwide between local law enforcement and immigration authorities.  The sting at Stewart Airport could not have set a more dangerous precedent for New York, a state with one of the country’s highest immigrant populations and one that has historically been a leader in protecting their rights.

Low-wage immigrant workers in New York, already vulnerable to wage exploitation and other abuse, will now face heightened fear when showing up to work.  Last Thursday’s raid also ripped apart entire families in the region, many of whom were comprised of U.S. Citizens.  Advocates throughout the region and state reject any new policy by ICE in New York that accelerates the detention and deportation of hard-working immigrant populations.  Those who have been devastated by this raid are our neighbors-the fabric of our communities and the driving force in many sectors of our local economy.  They deserve to be treated fairly and humanely. As Congress last week has once again taken up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, it is critical that New York continue to model pro-immigrant policies, not practices that punish hard-working communities for political gain.


7 responses to “New York State Community Groups condemn recent raid at Stewart Airport

  1. What kind of security do we have at airports that hire illegal workers? False papers? Do we really know who these people are or where to find them if they have intention of setting a bomb? What is critical is finding all that break the law, no one is safe if laws are not enforced.

  2. “You’re under arrest for working!”

    When it comes to immigrants from dangerous countries who are suspected of being into terrorism, that makes sense, but when it comes to our next-door neighbors in Mexico who have suffered from 160 years of de facto white supremacist apartheid, it’s sad and counterproductive. Instead of perpetuating the injustices of the past, why not try the new paradigm of working to incorporate Mexico into the U.S. under the U.S. Constitution, allowing all 414 million Americans to finally share the New World in peace and prosperity. Learn about the Megamerge Dissolution Solution by clicking the url.

  3. “New York State Community Groups condemn recent raid at Stewart Airport”

    What may I ask would you do to ENFORCE the immigration law? WHAT? You have got to put fear in these illegal aliens, as they should NOT be here in the first place. They snub their nose at our laws and complain when we deport them, crying we are separating them from their families. WHAT A JOKE! Did they separate from a family when they illegally entered this Country? Then I say we are putting them back with their family. ENFORCE THE LAW! GET RID OF THE ILLEGAL ALIENS!

  4. We are business immigration lawyers with offices in Ridgewood, NJ and in New York City and it continues to be our experience that enforcement efforts persist since it is one of the initiatives that remains a clear predecessor to Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the U.S. What is vague is what enforcement efforts deal with “critical infrastructure” and which ones do not. Many of our clients in North Jersey and Rockland County have had site visits from the CIS and ICE. However, these are restaurants, manufacturing firms, educational institutions, etc. ICE has continued since the tenure of Ms. Julie Meyers, to focus on the importance of humanitarian methodologies for conducting raids and administrative investigations. We trust that the efforts of Ms. Meyers have not been completely forgotten.

  5. This is such a shame. We should be spending efforts coming up with a REASONABLE and humane immigration policy instead of arresting people who are just trying to do their job.

  6. How are we made safer by having people’s due process and habeas rights disregarded? If this can happen to people from other countries, it can happen to any of us — and it sometimes does.

    If *anyone* from *anywhere* was arrested on the 17th and cannot be located on the 23rd, it’s a problem. You can’t do that to a convicted felon in this country, and you certainly shouldn’t be doing it to working people who have what are essentially paperwork violations.

  7. Sarge in Seattle

    @Rich: I care. They are human beings, after all.