District 7 SOAR Attend Deportation Rally in Gary, Ind.

“This is a human rights and workers’ rights fight.  We cannot be divided.”

In early October, Scott Marshall (District 7 SOAR Board Member) and Jim Lang (Officer of SOAR Chapter 31-9) were among the Steelworkers who attended a rally against mass deportations at the Gary Indiana Airport, which has been one of the federal government’s chosen locations to carry out deportations. In fact, more than 12,500 immigrants have been deported through GIA as of June 2017 (chicagotribune.com, 10/6/17).

More than 100 demonstrators from various unions, community groups, faith-based organizations and immigrants’ rights groups came to bring attention to and decry the secretive and inhumane treatment of our immigrant sisters and brothers. 

Deportation creates more problems than it solves. Those who are being deported have oftentimes lived so long in the United States that they have no friends, family, or income in Mexico. In broad daylight the demonstrators bared witness to buses of deportees, including Dreamers, who were wearing leg irons and chains after being abruptly uprooted from their communities. The communities they leave behind here in the United States will also suffer greatly as a result of losing countless family-owned businesses, churches, community centers and more.   

Giving further reason for why union members should oppose mass deportations, Scott Marshall explains that the threat of deportation has been used countless times to intimidate immigrant workers from joining unions.

“Even when you’ve been following the rules and have a Green Card, the threat of deportation or of your community being raided in the middle of the night oftentimes scares workers enough that they might not join a union,” Marshall explains.  “This is a human rights and workers’ rights fight.  We cannot be divided.”

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