On Sunday March 5, CCT invited all our friends, members and allies for a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Michael Bianco Raid and celebration of CCT’s 10 years of achievements since that cold morning in March 2007.
Indeed, it is frustrating that after 10 years of accomplishments, CCT’s community and New Bedford employers alike must once again consider the possibility of mass deportations. These were among the promises of made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Even before Donald Trump stepped into the political scene, President Obama became known by immigrant advocates as “Deporter in Chief,” after his administration deported 2.5 million people, without counting those detained at attempting to cross the border into the United States. Late last year, rumors of raids led a local temporary agency to dismiss several groups of up to 50 workers at a time. On March 2nd, less than two months after Trump took office, a local grocer – Sid Wainer and Son – sent its employees a letter stating that undocumented workers are no longer welcome to work for the company and would be terminated by March 18th. While this particular company has a history of discrimination – to the point of hiding its employees of color from view of its customers – we cannot rule out this becoming a trend among New Bedford employers.
In a conversation with Mayor Mitchell of New Bedford, CCT leaders were assured that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has moved beyond Bianco-style raids. CCT received this suggestion with a degree of skepticism as it is clear that undocumented immigrants have not been welcome to stay in the country. In fact, two days prior to our commemoration event, a large van with ICE insignia, equipped to carry dozens of people was spotted on Rt. 24 heading south towards New Bedford.
As we continue forward under the Trump administration, CCT will continue to advocate for the right to migrate, the right to seek a brighter future, and the right to become fully integrated and represented in our communities. We see ourselves as a community of individuals who have been wronged and marginalized by institutions both in the U.S. and abroad, and we will continue to fight for the things we believe in – namely the inestimable value and dignity of the human person. Our event on March 5, intended to celebrate just that.