In the early morning of May 17, an armed SWAT team accompanied FBI agents as they smashed Carlos Montes’ door and raided his Los Angeles home. The agents proceeded to confiscate his computer, cell phone, and hundreds of printed and digital documents related to his forty years of activism in the Chicano and immigrant rights movements. Carlos was arrested and detained overnight for firearm code violation and is scheduled to appear in court on June 16.
This is the latest in a series of raids on political activists by Obama’s Department of Justice. Last year, two dozen labor and international solidarity activists, including several Chicagoans, were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury. Some had their homes raided and belongings confiscated. In May, Hatem Abudayyeh, a leader in Chicago’s Arab-American community who had been subpoenaed in September 2010, had his bank account frozen. Carlos Montes is the first individual in this wave of repression who has been mainly active in the Chicano and immigrant rights movements. As such, the raid on his home is of concern to all immigrant rights activists.
Our immigrant community knows the violence of the increase in raids, detentions and deportations that have terrorized communities. These raids and actions will not intimidate activists from speaking out for social justice in the United States and abroad. Rather than be intimidated, isolated and victimized, the targets of FBI repression have made their cases public and organized support from the public and within the social justice movements. In this, we see another parallel with undocumented youth, threatened by deportation, who have refused to be intimidated and found that coming out and organizing is the best way to confront ICE.
The Immigrant Youth Justice league joins others in the immigrant rights movement to call on U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Barack Obama drop all charges against Carlos Montes. We call for the immediate return of Montes’ property and for an end to the FBI campaign against political activists. An injury to one is an injury to all!