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Friday, April 21, 2006

Arrested for playing soccer

From the WSWS:
In Putnam County, New York, for instance, a suburban area only 50 miles from New York City, the County Sheriff arrested eight immigrants who were playing soccer on a school ball field and held them for immigration authorities. Seven were able to make bail, but the eighth, a 33-year-old father of five, has been in federal prison in Pennsylvania awaiting deportation since last January.

Local officials who already hold strong anti-immigrant views have been emboldened by the bipartisan political rhetoric legitimizing new crackdowns and using the so-called war against terrorism to call for closing US borders. The sheriff in Putnam County, Donald Smith, said, "We have a situation in our country where our borders are not being adequately protected, and that leaves law enforcement people like us in a very difficult situation."

Smith said federal immigration agents were called because the sheriff’s deputies suspected the men were "illegal" and "because we are trying to uphold the law for the citizens of this county." The men were arrested for playing soccer and charged with trespass, a class B misdemeanor. Bail for seven was set at $1,000, but Juan Jimeniz, the worker now held in Pennsylvania, was held on $3,000 bail because he could not provide his home address.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." and we'll lock 'em up. For playing soccer.