Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Is immigration becoming an 'Occupy' issue?

Is immigration starting to become an 'Occupy' issue? It seems to be, at least this week. Earlier in the week, the arrest of Mexican-born former graduate student Francisco "Pancho Ramos-Stierle as he meditated during an Occupy Oakland protest landed him in the custody of immigration officials. This prompted fellow protesters and supporters to get involved in a campaign to free him - and to learn a bit about the immigration system in the process.

Ramos-Stierle was released pending a deportation hearing. But farther south, protesters mounted an "Occupy ICE" rally yesterday, marching through downtown San Diego to the federal building where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has its local headquarters. Many of the protesters were unionized janitors and their supporters. What some were saying, according to a Fronteras Desk story from KPBS in San Diego:

"We're tired of the attacks on immigrants, on working people," said Rosa López, a union leader and janitor who works in downtown San Diego. "We work very hard every night cleaning the toilets that no one else wants to clean."

Protestors chanted "We are the 99 percent!" borrowing the now-famous battle cry of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"So much of the discussion about the 99 percent has gone on without discussion of a true background of that 99 percent, and that"s the immigrant workforce," said Lorena Gonzalez, secretary-treasurer of the San Diego Labor Council.

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