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Friday, January 10, 2003

I went to the INS office in Detroit this afternoon to protest the government's requirement for male immigrants from selected countries to register their whereabouts, and just to be a witness. There were maybe about 40 of us outside with signs, songs and chants (many were there much longer than I was). INS officials were being very supportive--their PR guy came out and talked with us several times, and even took pictures of the group with the cameras people brought. As far as we could tell, most immigrants who went in were coming out. Apparently they had a huge turnout yesterday, and the INS staff worked until 11 trying to complete the processing without holding anyone overnight. I was told by someone in the group that the INS didn't succeed in finishing the processing last night, but they let the immigrants still there go, asking them to come back next week (I guess they met the deadline by showing up).

I'm not an authoritative source, but it appears that the protests in LA in December may have had a good effect and caused the INS to approach this nasty issue in a more thoughtful and humane way. I also got the impression that the INS has lots of employees who do have the best interests of the immigrant population at heart and are trying their best to reconcile that with the nasty orders they have been given.