Yesterday, Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents stormed six courthouses in Providence, RI – arresting dozens of people hired by state contractors. Though the details are few at this point, it is believed that those arrested were doing maintenance work on the courthouses. (Make sure to watch the video when you click on the first link)
Local immigrant rights advocates reacted quickly, with dozens of people protesting the raids in front of the ICE building in Providence at 8 p.m.
The raids occurred during the first meeting of a governor’s advisory panel, charged with monitoring any “unintended consequences” of Governor Carcieri’s executive order cracking down on illegal immigration. The order issued in March requires that state police be deputized with certain immigration enforcement powers.
There is talk that the contractors were refusing to pay wages – in which case it would seem the ICE raid is more than a coincidence. The same occurred in Postville, where Agriprocessors was under federal investigation for labor violations when ICE agents arrested all the would-be witnesses in the case.