The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Defend Roger Calero!

Jan 20, 2003

On December 3, Roger Calero was seized by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS is seeking to deport Calero to his native Nicaragua under the pretext of a 1988 conviction, for selling an ounce of marijuana to an undercover cop. Calero had a suspended 60-day sentence with three years probation for this dangerous "crime" – committed 15 years ago when he was a high school student.

Calero has lived in this country for the past 17 years and has held permanent residence since 1990. When Calero applied for permanent residency in 1989 he included information about his conviction, which immigration officials waived in order to grant him a green card giving him the right to live and work in the United States. In 2000 the INS renewed his card, no questions asked. Calero worked as a meat packer in Des Moines, Iowa, and then in Twin Cities, Minnesota, where he participated in a union-organizing drive at the Dakota Premium plant in south St. Paul. Today, Calero, who is married to a U.S. citizen, lives in Newark, New Jersey.

The real issue is not a 15 year old-conviction. The real reason for this attack on Calero now is that he is an associate editor of Perspectiva Mundial and staff writer for the Militant, both publications of the Socialist Workers Party, an organization known for its opposition to U.S. wars and to U.S. attacks on countries like Cuba. In fact Calero was picked up when he returned from a recent trip to Cuba and Mexico.

When opposition to the INS campaign against Calero mounted, the INS paroled Calero on December 13. But they are continuing to push to exclude Calero from the country.

People supporting Calero ask that people outraged by this attack send a letter of protest to Hipolito Acosta, District Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 126 Northpoint Drive, Houston, TX 77060. Please send a copy to the Roger Calero Defense Committee, c/o PRDF, Box 761, Church St. Station, New York, NY 10007.