January 24, 2019
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Area groups call for protection of civil rights for immigrants

Community Author: Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine
Post Date:

BANGOR — Concerned citizens will gather at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Concord Trailways Bus Terminal at 1039 Union St. in Bangor to call for the protection of due process and the civil rights of immigrants in Maine, whether documented or not. It has been reported that Customs and Border Protection recently boarded a bus in Bangor to ask passengers if they were US citizens.
In the current political climate, both documented and undocumented immigrants are being intimidated, racially profiled, and subject to unconstitutional searches. Lexius Saint Martin, a Waterville business owner, homeowner, and taxpayer with two young children and a third on the way, who came to the US from Haiti when he was 11 years old, was recently arrested by immigration authorities and is being threatened with deportation to a country where he knows no one, and has no place to go.  In September, Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and it is up to Congress and our elected officials – Senator Collins and King and Representative Poliquin – to enact legislation and protect the 800,000 DREAMers from deportation.
We are witnessing discrimination and inhumane treatment toward people who are often here because of untenable conditions in their home countries, conditions frequently exacerbated by US policies and military actions.  In addition, the kinds of actions we are seeing from the CBP and ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – threaten the civil rights of ALL people living in our communities, especially those of people of color.
“Stop focusing on how I look, my color, my accent or my religion,” urges “S”, a Maine DACA recipient. “I’m here. I’m an American.  I pay my taxes. I’m doing something for myself, for my family, for our community.  I’m doing something for this country. Everything that I’m doing is what makes a good American citizen, but yet I can’t be considered that because of a place that I was born. It’s horrible that I’ve lived here for 15 years and my status, my identity is an alien number on a piece of paper. No human is illegal. No. We are all Americans.”
Angela Okafor, a Maine immigrant, warns us, “Today it is ME, tomorrow it WILL BE YOU. The sooner WE realize this is a fight for one race; our human race, the better for our world. Humanity is stronger than race.”
This event is being co-sponsored by: the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Maine People’s Alliance, Health Equity Alliance, Resources for Organizing & Social Change, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, Hampden Area Diversity, The Wilson Center for Spiritual Exploration and Multifaith Dialogue, Bangor High School Women’s Interest Group, Indivisible Bangor, Eastern Maine Racial Justice, Socialist Party of Eastern Maine, Greater Bangor Area NAACP, H.O.M.E. Inc.
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Karen Marysdaughter, Co-Coordinator
P&J Center of Eastern Maine
96 Harlow St, Suite 100, Bangor, ME  04401