People who support immigrant rights gathered outside the county jail here to protest the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for its complicity in the deportation of over 1,000 people every month in Houston. The Oct. 10 picket line faced dozens of armed sheriffs trying to intimidate the demonstrators while participants took the mic to denounce the recent immigration raids in Houston.
The action was initiated by the Houston Socialist Movement. Speakers included representatives of many organizations, including the International Workers of the World and End Mass Incarceration-Houston. Many undocumented youth participated, including César Fiero, from Immigrant Families and Students in Struggle (FIEL), who proudly announced, ”I am undocumented and unafraid!”
Martha Ojeda with the Fe y Justicia (Faith and Justice) Worker Center told the crowd that the raids must stop. The workers’ center is organizing with the families who were taken into custody recently at a tortilla factory.
A speaker representing Workers World Party pointed to the line of cops monitoring the protest and said: “These uniformed goons standing here are the ones separating families, causing untold grief and deporting honest people. This is criminal. They are the people that should be locked up for their crimes against humanity, not the immigrants fleeing terror at home, not families trying to find work, not students denied jobs even after graduating high school and even college.”
After the demonstration, the crowd walked up the steps of the building housing the sheriff’s office, which is inside the huge county jail, in order to deliver a letter to Sheriff Ron Hickman. A line of cops blocked the entrance and doors were locked. Angry protesters began chanting, “Let us in! Let us in!”
Since the sheriffs had stopped allowing visitors to enter to see their family or friends who were in jail, the protest was ended so that jail visits could resume. All agreed that only by mobilizing the community can the raids and deportations be stopped, that no politician will end the racist attacks on immigrants. Only the people can do it.