LOS ANGELES - The last remaining seven of more than eighty immigrant women booked and placed in detention centers this past November after LAPD raided a downtown “guest” bar is now free and back with family and loved ones. The November 5 raid was significant in that the majority of those arrested were immigrant workers not charged with lewd conduct or prostitution but handed over nonetheless to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers who placed some in deportation proceedings. At least seven women spent their Christmas and New Year’s holidays behind bars separated from their loved ones. The following are statements by Xiomara Corpeño, Organizing Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and Nikhil Shah, the co-chair for the Raids Response Network of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Xiomara Corpeño comments:
“This is a great day for the almost eighty women who have worked so hard to have their pending immigration cases reconsidered. These women were detained by the LAPD for a crime they were never charged with but ended up nonetheless spending almost two months behind bars. A great injustice was done unto these immigrant workers who are not criminals but working moms and clearly victims of exploitation by their employer. Six out of ten women were moms and their children missed them deeply during Christmas and New Year’s.
CHIRLA is most thankful to the various private immigration attorneys and the Immigration Raids Response Network who held out a helping hand, especially during the holiday season when they too aspire to be with their loved ones. We will continue to educate the community about their rights and look forward to these cases being dismissed soon. We also look forward to continuing our work with the LAPD who has been very cooperative in this and other pertinent cases.”
Nikhil M. Shah comments:
“Individuals with prior deportation orders who are in ICE custody are deported in an expeditious manner unless an attorney can intervene swiftly and file the necessary paperwork for a stay of removal and convince ICE officers to keep them here. If not for the efforts of volunteer immigration attorneys and groups such as CHIRLA, the Club 907 raid victims could have met the terrible fate of being removed from the U.S. and separated from their families during the holiday season.”