Victor Toro faces deportation hearing on January 18:
Stop the Deportation of Victor Toro!
Stop the ICE Raids on Immigrants!
Demonstrate: Friday, January 18, 2008, at 9:00 am
26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan(at the corner of Worth Street & Lafayette St)
On July 6, agents of Homeland Security’s Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) went down the aisles of an Amtrak train near Rochester, NY, checking the documents of people who they profiled as immigrants. The ICE agents pulled off the train 35 people who were unable to provide proof of citizenship or legal residency and took them to jail.
This was an outrageous example of an increasingly common outrage -- immigrants being terrorized by ICE raids where they live and work, and while traveling in cars and on public transportation. In fact, in July, Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary warned that the increase of mass arrests of undocumented immigrants is “gonna get ugly” – terrorizing tens of thousands more immigrants. And presidential debates have often become contests over who promises to bash immigrants the hardest. All this must be brought to a halt!
What has brought this particular raid to wide public attention is that among those detained on July 6 was Victor Toro, a Chilean exile and political activist. Toro is known by thousands for his decades of struggle in revolutionary and progressive movements, originally in Chile and now in the U.S. Toro was detained as he was returning to New York from a national immigrants rights conference in California. His detention was reported twice on the front page of New York’s El Diario/La Prensa newspaper and the New York Times described him as “one of the best known advocates for immigrants and other disposed people in New York City.”
Toro and others pulled out from the train were taken to a county jail:
“When I was in jail, on the first day they put us in these orange jumpsuits like what you have seen so many times in that Guantánamo concentration camp. That for sure brought out a ton of memories, seeing so many Asian brothers, Mexican brothers, and all our brothers who come here without documents, dressed in that same color… My first response was great anger. Everyone has seen the prisoners in Guantánamo in those horrible clothes, their feet and hands tied, almost falling over. That’s the first response, and it makes you think. But as the days pass, you realize that all of them are dressed in orange.”
As Toro told El Diario/La Prensa,
“Those orange jumpsuits are horrible and cause terror. I will not forget their inscription: ‘Cayuga County.’ I felt the same humiliation as the prisoners in Guantánamo, and also it made me recall when I was a political prisoner of the military dictatorship in Chile.”
Victor Toro and his wife Nieves Ayress were among the many thousands of Chileans who were arrested and tortured by the Pinochet regime, which seized power through a U.S.-backed coup on September 11, 1973. Many thousands more were outright murdered or “disappeared”. When the fascist generals took over radio stations and announced their coup, they identified Toro by name as one of the 13 most wanted people -- “dead or alive.” Victor’s past persecution in Chile is well documented and his political work has been the subject of books, including Alistair Horne’s Small Earthquake in Chile.
In the late 1970s Victor and Nieves were able to escape from Chile. In 1984 they made the dangerous crossing into the U.S. without papers and settled in the South Bronx. Soon after that, the Chilean government declared Toro to be legally “dead,” complicating his ability to obtain legal status.
His defense team has documented that his deportation to Chile would be extremely dangerous for Victor and has filed for political asylum.
World Can’t Wait-Drive Out the Bush Regime joins in demanding that deportation proceedings be stopped and political asylum be granted for Victor Toro and urges everyone to come to pack the hearing room in his support on January 18th.
Letters of support and donations for his defense (checks made payable to “Las Peñitas Inc.”) can be sent to: Vamos a La Pena, PO Box 739, Bronx, NY 10454. Messages of support can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pack the Hearing Room, Rally in front of the court!
Stop the deportation of Victor Toro!
Stop the immigration raids!
Drive Out the Bush Regime!