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Activists rally in support with detained union worker

Local labor and immigration activists rallied on Friday in solidarity with Hugo Mejia, a worker who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 3 in California.

About 20 people marched outside the Federal Center on Westminster St. in Providence, chanting "Free Hugo Now!" Staff photo by Jake Kuhn.
About 20 people rallied outside the Federal Center on Westminster St. in Providence, chanting “Free Hugo Now!” Staff photo by Jake Kuhn.

Mejia was on his way to a construction job when he was taken into custody by ICE officers.

“The idea that you can just be going to work and then be taken and be arrested and put in a detention center simply for doing your job—that’s completely unacceptable,” said Justice Gaines, a volunteer with Rhode Island Jobs with Justice. “We’re going to fight that. We’re going to fight to make sure that doesn’t happen here, and we wanna make sure that’s not happening anywhere in this country.”

Gaines said that this rally was part of a larger fight to protect workers and union members from what xe says are “the Trump administration’s unjust immigration policies.”

Hugo Mejia has been a member of the International Union for Painters and Allied Trades for 10 years, and he has lived in the U.S. with his family for 15 years.

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