ICE raids shatter communities across the country during pope's visit
The coverage these raids have gotten is problematic, to say the least, especially when you consider that the raids are implicated in each of these other three stories.
Pro-migrant commentators have pointed out the dire fiscal situation many
states that have adopted restrictionist policies have found themselves in--
And finally, did no one in the press consider connecting the fact that Bush was discussing immigration with the Pope at the exact same time as ICE agents were rounding up hardworking immigrants to be deported? This seems to me a grave oversight, and I've been waiting to see this angle reported in the mainstream press.
From MIRA today:
Pope Visits With President While Bush Sends Agents Across America to Raid
Boston, MA- Today, President George W. Bush hosted Pope Benedict XVI,
celebrated his 81st birthday at the White House, and in a private meeting
with the President, asked for the humane treatment of immigrants in the
. At the same time this conversation was happening, immigrant United States
workers were being subjected to detention and interrogation in workplaces
across eight states, TX, FL, WV, TN, NY, PA, OH, and GA, by Federal ICE
"Today, President Bush welcomed Pope Benedict to the White House and spoke
about freedom in a 'spirit of mutual support.'," said Sister Lena Deevy,
Executive Director of the
. "Yet, in my eyes, Irish Immigration Center
President Bush fails to live up to his words by continuing to increase harsh
enforcement measures and refusing to help immigrants become citizens.
Today's immigration raids across
are yet another example of America
political scapegoating at its worst."
Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee
Advocacy Coalition, said, "There is a fundamental disconnect between our
nation's moral belief that all human beings should be treated with dignity
and the implementation of our nation's broken immigration system. For the
President to put at risk the sanctity and safety of immigrant families by
conducting yet another round of harsh immigration raids flies in the face of
the Pope's call for humane treatment of all people."
MIRA works to advocate for the rights and opportunities of immigrants and
refugees. In partnership with its members, MIRA advances this mission
through education, training, leadership development, organizing, policy
analysis and advocacy.
ICE head Julie Myers has claimed the raids were all about stopping and
punishing identity theft. I have some
concerns about this claim. The identity
theft angle is a useful way of painting detainees as dangerous criminals instead of hardworking people with families to support. I find it hard to believe all the people they
arrested were guilty of this--especially since, due to the tactics used, there is
a high probability they arrested and detained some permanent residents or even
And I'm wondering about the timing of the raids, which happened just after the Julie Myers ICE Halloween party blackface photo story resurfaced in the press and just before the upcoming May Day rallies. Were the raids intended to suppress turnout on May 1? Or were they intended to increase turnout with the expectation that this would fuel another backlash, as the massive marches in 2006 did? I've heard both theories mooted. I never thought of myself as a conspiracy theorist, but then that was before I started working in immigration law.
One thing is clear: if anyone thought widespread criticism of the inhumane tactics used in these family-shattering raids or even a simultaneous visit from as famous an advocate for immigrants as the Pope would deter George Bush from doing what he'd set his mind to, they've got another think coming. The raids will continue and likely intensify all the way until 1/20/09.