May 12, 2008

Immigration Raids - Reaping Fear in the Heartland

Another immigration raid - this time in Postville, Iowa. The name Postville sounded familiar. Yes, it's the same town that is the subject of the book - and the movie - According to the movie, Postville changed fundamentally when "multiculturalism" arrived. How will it change now that "ICE" has arrived?

Immigration raids have been on the rise across the country since 2006. This year may beat all records. ICE may even reach its goal of deporting 18,000 people through these raids. Wait, 18,000? That number is high if you consider the amount of manpower ICE needs to do that. But, it is incredibly low if you consider that there are 7,000,000 undocumented workers in the U.S.

ICE is using an unprecedented amount of force not to put a dent in either "identity theft" or "working without authorization," but to instill fear in the hearts of undocumented workers everywhere. Perhaps, as David Bacon argues, another goal is to bust unions and to push for a temporary worker program. Or, as Roberto Novato contends, to create a more fascist state. But, clearly, the goal is not to remove all undocumented people. Because, at 18,000 a year, that would take nearly four centuries.

Whatever the goals of ICE are, the consequences of these raids are clear. Communities feel attacked, outraged, and terrorized. Children are separated from their parents, and wives from their husbands. Workers are attacked on their jobs, feel as though they are under siege. And, a few unlucky undocumented workers end up being deported. Many of them will simply try their luck at crossing the border again. The cost of these raids to our peace and liberty is too high. They need to be stopped, and ICE needs to focus on their primary task: finding terrorists, not terrorizing hard-working people.

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