The Children of Postville, Iowa

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Shuya Ohno, Director of Communication for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, flew into Iowa this weekend to help with the aftermath of the largest raid in the U.S. history.  The New Bedford raid wasn't too far behind.   Ohno sent me the following pictures and asked me to put them up on Citizen Orange:

Thumbnail image for Iowa girl May 17 08.JPG
Iowa two kids May 16 08.JPG
My fingers ache trying to type out this entry because there is so much that is wrong here.   Postville, Iowa, truly became POSTville after 389 people were yanked out of town with only 2,273 people in it.  What about the employers you say?  No officials at Agriprocessors have been charged.

But these migrants were bringing down wages for U.S. citizens you say?  The United Food and Commercial workers were actually in the process of trying to unionize people at the plant.  There was also government investigation of labor law violations under way which probably would have resulted in officials at Agriprocessors being charged. 

But this fight isn't about statistics, or the law.  This is a cultural war.  This is attrition through enforcement.   Nativists want migrants to suffer and the U.S. government is carrying out their wishes.  That's why I ask any nativist reading this to look into the faces of the children above.  These children have done nothing to deserve the suffering that you wish upon them.  The only sin their parents committed was to pursue happiness in a nation that refuses to recognize their humanity.

Read this from the Washington Post:

Half of the school system's 600 students were absent Tuesday, including 90 percent of Hispanic children, because their parents were arrested or in hiding.
Spencer S. Hsu - Washington Post (18 May 2008)
As is always the case, most of these 300 now missing students were probably U.S. citizens.  These children are not going away.  They will grow up and remember the terror that the U.S. government put them through.  Terror that other U.S. citizens stood by and watched. 

Kurt Ulrich's article in the Chicago Tribune actually spoke the most to me after the Iowa raids.  There are no statistics, it doesn't even really state a position.  It just describes the scene at Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa, where migrants are being processed.

At the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa, on a recent May day the only dancing being done was what you might call the "shackle shuffle." Those doing the shuffle are detainees of the U.S. government, all workers at a kosher meat processing plant in nearby Postville. Charged by the feds with either: 1) "making false representations about Social Security numbers," 2) "aggravated identity theft" or both, 390 workers were arrested. More arrests are promised, as 697 criminal complaints and arrest warrants have been issued thus far.

The latest, and reportedly largest ever, Immigration sweep was undertaken this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency here in Iowa, of all places. It seems that the good folks who own and operate AgriProcessors in Postville have been routinely and systematically hiring illegal immigrants to work in their plant. In the time I spent watching prisoners being "processed," I didn't see a single owner or representative of the company. My guess is their wing-tipped lawyers will claim they didn't know that half their workforce was here illegally.

Dark and bleak, the ballroom is set up as a makeshift courtroom, complete with seating in the back for the public and the curious. Detainees are being housed nearby in the large building on the grounds of the National Cattle Congress. Judges preside from the center of the dance floor, robed and imperial. The place is depressing, smelling of decades of cheap beer, cheaper cigarettes, and unbridled lust. Flaglike, a red, white and blue Bud Light sign hangs in a window on the west side.

Wrists manacled in front, ankles shackled, detainees shuffle in 10 at a time. Heads down, mostly, they are fitted with plastic headsets for translation purposes and then seated facing the judge. Federal Judge Linda Reade is respectful, almost pleasant, not an easy task in an environment filled with government men and women with 9 mm handguns on their hips. The detainees seem to appreciate her demeanor. Handed a copy of the complaint against them, they soon hear the standard litany from Judge Reade: "You have the right to remain silent . . . and anything you say can and will likely be used against you." At those words three detainees in one group, Aurelio Hernandez-Lopez, Silvestre Pena-Chavez and Antonio Perez, look up, but express zero emotion. No translation needed. Most of them are young men and they seem to know that all they can do is sit silently as they watch their lives slide from view.

Back in tiny Postville, others are likely packing, or already gone, gone to wherever it is folks go who don't want to be found. Clearly many thought Iowa was that place. Electric Park Ballroom is a place where young Iowans have been showing up for decades, a place for live music. It's the kind of place your mother warns you about, where evangelicals say the windows are shaded to cover the sin. But it's not the worst place in town, so generally it's OK. Oh sure, a few police calls and bloodied noses in the parking lot over the years, but you get that on warm testosterone-laden nights in towns where there isn't much to do.

Holding thick files, lawyers in charcoal suits sit at tables, keeping watch over their flocks of 10. Multiple burly ICE agents border collie the detainees in and out, seldom speaking, pointing mostly. Ten more shuffle in, followed by 10 more, and 10 more. It seems never-ending.

None of the manacled shufflers is from anywhere like oh, say Denmark or Canada. They come from places like Guatemala and Mexico, here in search of the Promised Land.

There are questions to be asked here but I fear the answers, so I don't ask, content to squirm in a sort of rolling ambivalence about our Immigration policies.

Ancient, dust-covered 12-inch public address speakers hang from the ceiling in the half-light of the old ballroom. I half expect to hear the plaintive voice of Roy Orbison singing something fitting, like "Running Scared," or maybe Johnny Cash singing the blues about being incarcerated in a place called Folsom Prison. Cash captured it nicely when he sang, "I bet there's rich folks eating in a fancy dining car. They're probably drinkin' coffee and smoking big cigars. Well, I know I had it coming, I know I can't be free."
Kurt Ulrich - Chicago Tribune (16 May 2008)


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It looks like someone finally got Immigration and Custom's Enforcement to show the U.S. public their balance sheet.  Through a freedom of information request, the Des Moines Register was able to find out that the cost for the Postville raid... Read More

42 Comments

Kevin Fitzroy said:

They will grow up and remember the terror that the U.S. government put them through. Terror that other U.S. citizens stood by and watched.

Are you talking about the children taken from the FLDS compound in Texas?

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

I'm talking about the children that are being separated from their parents, due to the ICE raid in Postville, Iowa.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

Are you not able to extend the same sympathies for the parents and children from the Texas FLDS case? If not, why?

John Weeks said:

In regards to Kevin Fitzroy's comment, why is there a greater concern for these children of illegal aliens? Their parents made decisions that were illegal. As far as for the LDS children, their parents didnt, yet they have been taken away and families are broken due to the actions of the state. Why the greater concern for illegals vs non-illegals?

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Dear John Weeks and Kevin Fitzroy,

The truth is that I am not as familiar with the Texas FLDS case, and there's nothing worse than someone who acts like they know something about something they don't. I will say, though, that it was not the focus of my post and it's a little disrespectful to come on someone's blog and completely hijack the subject matter.

That being said, I do know that there are parallels between the persecution of Mormons and the persecution of migrants though. In the past, the Edmunds Act, which sought to curb polygamy, deprived many Mormons of their citizenship rights.

The parents of the FLDS children in Texas, did allegedly commit illegal acts though, so this statement above is completely false. According to this USA Today article, there are "allegations of child sex abuse involving young teenage girls taken as wives by older men."

I would also say that there is greater concern for these children, and for their parents, than there are for the victims of the FLDS case. Migrants frequently don't have access to lawyers and are deported without their full right to a fair trial. It's looking like people in the FLDS are getting their due process.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

I've gotta say John Weeks,

If you continue to dehumanize migrants as you have done in your comment above, you are not welcome here.

John Weeks said:

kyledeb, you commented:

"If you continue to dehumanize migrants"

Where did I do that? I said illegal, not migrant, unless you are trying to read something into my comment that simply isn't there.

In regards to the LDS, why do you say:

"The parents of the FLDS children in Texas, did allegedly commit illegal acts" What ones?

You use the quote from USA today, which is:

"allegations of child sex abuse involving young teenage girls taken as wives by older men."

Key word: Allegations. Since when in our country did we start living under Napoleonic Code? The whole thing with the LDS is allegations.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Thank you for exposing your hypocrisy John Weeks,

With the FLDS case, you are willing to give the children and their parents the benefit of the doubt and the right to a fair trail. When it comes to migrants though, even though the raid just happened last week, they are all guilty to you!

Did you ever stop to think that some of these migrants might have legitimate asylum claims, or other legal routes to normalized status? It's innocent until proven guilty for everyone else, but guilty until proven innocent for migrants. But we'll never know that, because Immigration and Customs enforcement is oppressive. They will do everything they can to prevent migrants' rights to a fair trial, including keeping them in detention, where many of them die for lack of medical care.

Here on Citizen Orange, no human being is illegal, so when you use the word illegal to describe an entire subset of people, you are dehumanizing them.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

Whoa there, Kyledeb! Who said we weren't supposed to give the FLDS children the benefit of the doubt? What crimes did they commit? The children of the migrants may indeed be here illegally. Are we to continue to turn a blind eye to each and every illegal immigrant that temporarily resides in our country? Do you ever see an end to foreign peoples entering the United states and never leaving?

Take it easy on the victimology. You can't get bent out of shape when you publish a universally accessible blog and it's met by people who want to take part in the dialog.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

That's what I'm saying. FLDS children and their parents are given the benefit of the doubt while migrants are not.

Most children of migrants are actually U.S. citizens.

You say take it easy on the victimology, but you have to understand that I've been blogging for years on this subject and people like John Weeks always come in, and try to dehumanize migrants by calling them "illegals", and stating talking points that I've debunked again and again.

Foreign people's have always been coming to the U.S. and they have always been a huge source of talent and economic activity. The only way to stop migrant from flooding across the U.S. border is to give them opportunities in the countries that they come from. Enforcement like the raid in Postville, Iowa is never going to solve anything. It's only going to make broken families, and economy in shambles, and screwed up future U.S. citizen children.

This blog was founded to try and get people to start thinking about the roots of migration and global inequity. That's the real solution. In the meantime we have to try and treat migrants like people and make sure they don't suffer needlessly.

Check out this series in the Washington Post that describes how migrants are treated in detention centers. This is BEFORE their guilt has been determined and they are awaiting deportation.

John Weeks said:

kyledeb,

you stated:

"Thank you for exposing your hypocrisy John Weeks"

This confuses me. I think you wish only to call names. Once again, I'll bring to your attention the word "allegations". We haven't even discussed that there was a methamphetamine lab in the plant! I'm sure the migrants had nothing to do with it, or that it was ok since not all of them were involved in it! Was there a drug processing plant on the LDS compound? If there was I would still be hearing about it! Would you agree that this its a bit of a problem having a methamphetamine lab in a meat processing plant?

"Here on Citizen Orange, no human being is illegal"

Well, thank god for the fact that the world outside of Citizen Orange has a bit more respect for law and order. Sorry, but out here illegal is still illegal. Your desire to believe that there is no illegal person is hypocrisy and self-delusional and only meant to stop any discussion of the fact that they still, under the law, are in this country illegally. The migrants, I mean.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

So the distinction that I'm trying to draw here, Mr. Weeks,

Is that you stress the term allegations when it comes to the FLDS Texas case, but when it comes to migrants, you automatically condemn them as "illegal". That's not always the case when it comes to migrants. Many of them have legitimate asylum cases, or other ways to "become legal" in this country, but ICE is quick to deport them.

Here on Citizen Orange, we make a distinction between just and unjust laws. We do not believe people should be criminalized for the simple act of the pursuit of happiness, and we believe the United States was founded on principles that would normally welcome these hard-working migrants. I also think it is unjust that a U.S. citizen is allowed to travel legally all over the world with little to no resistance, while migrants from the majority world are criminalized, discriminated against, separated from their families, and left to rot in detention centers where they frequently die from lack of medical care.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

Ya know, Kyledeb, this argument that most children of migrants are U.S. citizens is fallacious. How could it be true? These people have migrated here to give birth to U.S. citizens? If I take a summer job in Canada or Australia and give birth to my child while I'm there, does that child then have a claim to citizenry in either my country of origin or the host country? What possible legal convention could be served by this notion?

To believe this way is to use subterfuge as political ammunition. It looks to be an ugly character flaw.

symsess said:

In exposing the terror children face due to these raids this post does not then devalue the terror children face around the world on a daily basis. All cases where people are dehumanized and treated to terror are unacceptable.

Furthermore a person's immigration status does not come before their rights as humans.

Why a person desires to make this situation acceptable by citing another case involving a group we assume to be citizens makes little sense. It's like I say on my own blog. If you're concerned about those families then sign up for a free blog and start posting. We'll definitely support your desire to help others.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Are you saying you believe we should repeal or alter the 14th amendment? Children born on U.S. soil are U.S. citizens, and that's the way it's been done for a long time now. Even if that legal precedent is altered, that doesn't mean you can rip away U.S. citizenship from those that it has already been granted to.

Read this report by the National Council of La Raza, which details the suffering of children due to the raid. Two-thirds of the children impacted by the raids are U.S. citizens or legal residents.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

If La Raza (The Race) is correct about these figures, then these children should be given all the comforts afforded any child placed in foster care. That would be the same treatment afforded the children of the FLDS. Then we can be sure, as Americans, that we are raising them in strict accordance with American customs and culture. The same argument leveled by the proponents of redistribution for the FLDS children. The term that the Texas Child Protective Services used was the "sprinkling"of children throughout the state. Surely, these children of migrants would benefit from that collectively. Again, that is the argument in the FLDS case.

yave begnet said:

For what it's worth, I saw some parallels between the two situations--Dorado and ICE raids--which I raised in comments here a few weeks ago. I have a somewhat atypical relationship to these issues since I grew up LDS (but left the church) and am now an immigration attorney. I think we should be wary whenever the government comes in and starts breaking up families throughout an entire community.

That said, this is a blog about migration, and this post was about the Postville raid and its impact on the children of the workers there. I don't see much sense in demanding that people sympathetic to one group or the other take a position on both groups.

To emphasize kyle's point, just using the term "illegal" as a way to describe a human being grates on our ears and will not go unchallenged on this blog.

Regarding birthright citizenship, it is a core constitutional principle embedded in the 14th Amendment after the Civil War to ensure that blacks were accorded citizenship. It goes back much further--jus soli is a principle of English common law. This isn't something migrant advocates just made up on the fly. If you want to make the case for repealing the 14th amendment, that is your prerogative, but it's not something that will come easily given the history of the amendment.

I am personally sympathetic to the FLDS children--I don't think they should be ripped en masse from their mothers and sent into foster care. But I can't speak for the others on this blog on that issue. I can say, however, that we are uniformly pro-migrant and will stand up against the kind of anti-migrant sentiment commonly found elsewhere in the blogosphere.

John Weeks said:

Wow, now Ive seen it all.

Quoting a racist organization like La Raza. Thats too much.

In regards to a post by you in which you state:

"people like John Weeks always come in, and try to dehumanize migrants by calling them "illegals", and stating talking points that I've debunked again and again."

You dont debunk them, you just ignore them. Sorry, but true

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

You might want to try debunking actual facts rather than just maligning the organization Mr. Weeks. Attacking the source and not the substance is far to easy. Here's NCLR's response to your common anti-migrant talking point:

Many people incorrectly translate our name, “La Raza,” as “the race.” While it is true that one meaning of “raza” in Spanish is indeed “race,” in Spanish, as in English and any other language, words can and do have multiple meanings. As noted in several online dictionaries, “La Raza” means “the people” or “the community.” Translating our name as “the race” is not only inaccurate, it is factually incorrect. “Hispanic” is an ethnicity, not a race. As anyone who has ever met a Dominican American, Mexican American, or Spanish American can attest, Hispanics can be and are members of any and all races.

The term “La Raza” has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as “the people,” or, according to some scholars, “the Hispanic people of the New World.” The term was coined by Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world’s races, cultures, and religions. Mistranslating “La Raza” to mean “the race” implies that it is a term meant to exclude others. In fact, the full term coined by Vasconcelos, “La Raza Cósmica,” meaning the “cosmic people,” was developed to reflect not purity but the mixture inherent in the Hispanic people. This is an inclusive concept, meaning that Hispanics share with all other peoples of the world a common heritage and destiny.

Here's where I debunk your use of the term, illegal.

yave begnet said:

Also, check out this letter from a teacher in the Postville school system linked to in this comment at Latina Lista. Here is an excerpt:

After school, all teachers and staff are told to report to the theater. We have 150 students with no parents to go home to. We are told that we need to stay with them until we find out where their parents are at or a relative that will care for them until their parents are found. Many of these kids lost both parents due to the raid and the parents are now sitting in jail in Waterloo, or in the National Cattle Congress Fairgrounds until they are deported. I guess, I don’t really care how any of you feel about immigration, we all have our opinions. But I will say, that as a human being and as a parent, I find it disturbing to see little elementary kids crying for their parents and asking you to take them home, and all one can say is, I am sorry, or we are looking for them. By the way, we got no information from ICE as to who they arrested, and whether or not, their parents were being detained. At this point, I just wanted to go home and hug my own kids.
kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Dear Mr. Weeks and Mr. Fitzroy,

It occurs to me that this conversation became contentious without having to be. I'm just a bit hurried today trying to get work done in between responding to your comments.

I usually start off by welcoming new commenters to Citizen Orange, and asking them where they come from and why the issues they bring up matter to them. I then ask them what they think we can agree on when it comes to migrants.

I appreciate you both taking the time to express your thoughts here, and if you'd like to answer the two above questions, I would welcome you both to continue reading Citizen Orange and contributing here.

I just ask that we try to move towards a solution rather than engage in bitter debate. Try to found out what we agree on rather than what we disagree on. I've come closer to that with Mr. Fitzroy than with Mr. Weeks.

Thanks again for reading and commenting here.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

Counselor Begnet,

I'm not interested in playing lawyer-ball with you over the highly contentious concept of jus soli in relation to the Constitution's 14th amendment. The misleadingly attractive idea that guest workers are invited into the country to serve a specific purpose that rewards both the migrant and his host country can never be conflated with the fact that nations jettison their poorest citizens in hopes that they anchor themselves to new soil simply by giving birth while in the process of working a job.

John Weeks said:

I am quite familiar with their organization, thank you. Perhaps you should observe their rallies ("All for the brown race, etc.), and also, to be fair, define what "Atzlan" means to them. Well? What is Atzlan? Or do you know those things already?

And what about that meth lab?

I went to the debunking link, I think you wrote this:

"When describing the 12 million people that have illegally immigrated into the U.S. the best term to use is the word "migrant"."

Now you yourself say it: illegal. You just have a problem with the word because it hurts your argument's premise.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

The truth about the elasticity of definition inherent in the term "La Raza" is that it is what it needs to be when it needs to be it. Within the cozy confines of fellow travelers it's "The Race" yet when it is swung like a cudgel it magically transforms into "The People." If you feel squeamish about referring to Diaspora-Europeans as Aryan, perhaps you'll recognize the same twinge I feel whenever I hear "La Raza."

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Mr. Weeks,

There's a difference between describing actions as illegal, and human beings as illegal. You also fail to make the distinction between just and unjust laws. If you dare say that U.S. immigration laws I dare you to say that to the children referenced in this post when they are grown up and able to defend themselves.

Mr. Fitzroy,

If you want to overturn the 14th amendment, that's your prerogative. Make your case the U.S. public. For the children that are already here, though, they are already U.S. citizens. Too late. Accept it or reject it. We need to figure out what to do about them.

To both of you,

I've spent a great deal of time responding to your comments today, and I tried to be respectful in the last one. If you do not agree with the principles here, and refuse to have a civil conversation where we focus on finding solutions, not attacking each other. Then I urge you to take your readership and time elsewhere. This will be one of my last responses to both of you, and if you continue to be disrespectful of this forum I will stop publishing your comments.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

You are very intelligent Mr. Fitzroy,

I could get into a philosophical debate with you about race right now and the differences between white supremacy and racial solidarity for the purposes of uniting against oppression, but it is clear to me that your intent is to disrupt this conversation more than it is to grow and contribute to this forum. I encourage you to take your comments and readership elsewhere if this is not the place for you.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

I think you can tell by my enthusiasm that this is indeed the place for me. In the victim's lexicon, there is no quibbling over the skewed semantics of white supremacy and racial solidarity. The trouble only occurs when one is forced to accept one motive and yet denied her right of the other. You see in the victim the right of racial solidarity and in the oppressor the character of white supremacist. Can Diaspora-Europeans ever be a minority, given the right to racial solidarity, anywhere in the world? If so, can racial solidarity be a rational pursuit among whites in South Africa? They are and have always been, a minority? For the sake of argument will you ever accept the fact that these same Diaspora-Europeans are in fact a global minority?

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Mr. Fitzroy,

I appreciate your enthusiasm. If this is truly the place for you then let's hold this conversation on race until another day. I believe this question of race is secondary, even if important, in the migrant debate. Here you are addressing one of the central philosophical conundrums when it comes to race and organizing against racism, but I would argue that it is a rarity to find a situation in which white people (which is an amorphous categery) are in the underprivileged situation.

Nativism, or the belief that someone should be treated differently solely on the basis of their place of birth, is at the center of the migrant debate. This conversation, too, I would like to hold off until another day.

If you'd truly like to use this forum and help further sharpen our arguments, than I encourage you to bring this questions up at a later date, and in the future, we'll try to approach it in a civil manner.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

Again, your choice of words; Hispanic is diverse yet white is amorphous. One speaks of variety and the other is simply unclassifiable. I don't accept this definition yet you presume to foist it upon me. How do I and others that may think like myself, begin to define ourselves if we leave it to the perspectives of others. This posture is anomalous to racial minorities yet is thought to be worthy of imposition upon whites. Why so?

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Another day, Mr. Fitzroy. You might want to check out the glossary over at The Unapologetic Mexican, and take it up with him, if he lets your comments through.

I could point to books, too: We Who are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity, or Bernard Boxill's Blacks and Social Justice.

I could go on for hours about race, but that's not the purpose of this post, nor is it what I want to spend my afternoon discussing. Right now there are families in Postville, Iowa, that need help, I encourage you to assist them there.

If you want to bring up this conversation at a later date, I welcome you too, but I ask that you stick with the purpose of the post.

John Weeks said:

"There's a difference between describing actions as illegal, and human beings as illegal"

This is just double-talk. Their ACTIONS (entering the country illegally) makes it ILLEGAL for them to be here! Their very presence is illegal, hence why they are referred to as illegal!

I don't know what or how else to say this. They are here, in this country ILLEGALLY. You simply want to discard use of the word so that you can continue working on the argument that for some reason they have a right to be here. If we can never use the word, it clouds the issue and forces it into a discussion that will ultimately lead to a conclusion that everyone in the world has a right to be here if they choose, there are no borders that mean a thing, and there is no US sovereignty.

And yes the children. Being taught that, if you feel the law is unjust, its ok to break it, is not a good lesson. Which one will be next, or which series of laws will be unjust? Who will decide this?

And STILL no discussion of the meth lab.

And you are right, too much time is being spent on this.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Mr. Weeks,

If you cannot even understand how that word could possibly wrong, than I encourage you to spend your time elsewhere. Thank you for stopping by.

yave begnet said:

Sorry, kyle, but I just had to have a go at this.

Speaking of victimology, what was the intent behind the initial volley of concern for the FLDS children--simply a means of getting a toehold into this discussion about migration? Are those children victims or no? Have you succumbed to the wiles of victimology in your framing of their situation?

If I am correct in interpreting Kyle's use of the modifier "amorphous" in reference to "white," all racial categorizations are contingent to some degree. Here in the U.S., most African-Americans are considered black, but traveling to many African nations, they would be considered "white" according to local norms. Same is true of many Haitians and Brazilians who are considered dark-skinned here but light-skinned there. I'm white pretty much wherever I go, but back home in Utah growing up as a kid running around in the sun, my skin was darker than most of my neighbors. In Utah, my hair is dark, in Costa Rica, it is blond. Again presuming to speak for Kyle, he wasn't making some distinction about whites as a class, but rather about race as a category.

I don't know about you, but I'm fine defining myself variously as "white," "Welsh/English/Scottish/Scandinavian," or "of European descent." As you pointed out, I am globally a racial minority, I am a racial minority in New York City and my neighborhood in Brooklyn, but certainly not in Utah where I grew up or yet in the United States.

Again, your disparaging reference to the "victim's lexicon" is at odds with your characterization of your (our) race as a global minority and your claim that we (whites) are not afforded the same ability to define ourselves as are people of other races. You seem to want it both ways--victim of the oppressive tactics of "racial minorities" (a category in which you sometimes place yourself) but fearless debunker of the false gospel of victimology. I don't think it works.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, "illegal immigrant" or "illegal alien" is not found in the Immigration and Nationality Act--these terms are essentially meaningless to an immigration judge, who is the primary adjudicator of immigration status in any individual case.

I could "allege" that there was a meth lab in Lou Dobbs' pants, but that wouldn't make it so, nor would it implicate Lou Dobbs' gardeners or the migrant workers who care for his daughters' show horses in some shadowy drug conspiracy. In some circles, mere mention of the word "meth" is enough to shut down all rational discussion. These are not those circles.

John Weeks said:

If this is a place where logic knows no place, and emotions are its replacement, you are correct, time spent elsewhere is the only solution. There will be no stopping.

And they were running a meth lab, regardless of how you wish to define (or ignore) it. Perhaps the impact of that will be felt one day, and you can write of the children destroyed by that action (or say it is simply an unjust law that stops illegal meth labs)

Take your pick, and goodby

Tony Herrera said:

@John Weeks @Kevin Fitzroy

My sympathies go to the children and parents of the Texas FLDS. Even if some of the allegations are proven, It's still a shame at how the authorities have treated these children and behaved towards that community. I must admit that I'm a dismayed at how most Americans don't find it appalling the removal of some 464 children from the West Texas compound. It's sad to see that while Texas authorities investigate allegations of child abuse against the fundamentalist polygamist group, the fate of some 464 children remains in limbo.

When it comes to Illegal Immigration the US and it's inability to enact a sensible immigration policy has placed the fate of some 12 million undocumented immigrants in limbo. Kyle has been more than gracious in his responses to both of you. Unfortunately, neither of you bring anything new to this discussion. The fact that both of you insist on labeling undocumented immigrants as "illegal aliens" and targeting a long standing Latino Advocacy group as racist does nothing to further your arguments.

Let me ask both of you a simple question: What should this Country, we as Americans, do with the US born children of undocumented immigrants?

If your response is that we should deport them along with their parents back to that parents native country. Well, then what happens with a US born child from "mixed-status" parents, a child who has an undocumented parent and a legal resident or one parent who happens to be a US Citizen.

We as American's need to ask ourselves how we truly want to resolve one of the most difficult matters of our generation.

Kyle has built this site as a sanctuary of sorts. A sanctuary for the victims of our failed immigration policies, many of them children who fear their parents deportation on a daily basis.

I applaud his efforts and his willingness to engage opposing views such as yours. I however, am less tolerant so, the typical Nativist argument of "What part of illegal, don't you understand", does not suffice.

Please, either of you bring forth some meaningful dialogue otherwise, aside from "they are illegal and let's deport them all", otherwise I'm led to conclude that if this was another era both of your would believe that Blacks should still sit at the back of a bus or worse yet still be enslaved and Whites forever their proverbial masters.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Thanks for your support Tony,

This has probably been one of the longest threads on Citizen Orange thus far, and pro-migrant voices like yours are extremely helpful. I wish you the best.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

Counselor Begnet,

My initial volley was to call attention to the language used to describe Kyle's pain and anguish over these Iowa children yet his willingness to ignore the plight of the children in Texas. I'm reminded of a common paean to the perennial victim, that of Pastor Martin Niemöller's "First They Came..." Again, when it is useful to play the vanquished, the victim weeps and pleads yet when it is useful to play the victor only callousness is displayed. I've learned the language by listening to the players. If this is now ethically normative behavior let me take part in the drama and mimic the actors.

It may be so that when you travel your hosts have only a vague understanding of your race. As for myself, I'm unmistakably white not amorphously white. Again, I'll state that any imprecision is due more to the beholder's obtuse disposition and not to any misleading quality in my appearance. Simply put, you presume to see me as indistinct because the language of identity politics rewards the muddled and rejects the obvious.

Defining oneself is no longer an option for white people. Any language that attempts to distinguish whites form any other is immediately suspect and its language is parsed for the telltale signs of white supremacy. Secondly, I might certainly be a minority in my neighborhood yet not in my city and again a minority in my state and yet not so in my country only to find that I remain a minority on my planet. What is your point?

Lastly, the meth discussion is of less importance to me than the language you've chosen when portraying this drama. If I'm not mistaken your gardeners are the migrants working for a Lou Dobbs, representative of the owners of the factory. Ill give this advice; remember Cicero, "Softly! Softly!" You wouldn't want the truest victims in history to witness your insolence. If you think the mere mention of meth will shut down all rational discussion, go ahead and name the men that are the other alleged parties to the drug manufacturing.

Kevin Fitzroy said:

No Tony, I don't pine for the days of slavery just like I don't pine for the days of stagecoach travel and septic infections. Any discussion about splitting up families due to immigration status should carry the same holistic philosophy one uses to determine the quality of all families. It is hypocritical to deny the utility of the male father, female mother model of child rearing only to claim its utility when the subjects are of a foreign culture visiting our country to perform a temporary job.

I may be presumptive, but I think I know what audience is reading this. I'll guess; pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-feminist, and typically anti-white European, Christian, heterosexual male. For all I know Begnet and Kyle may be white, but the level of misplaced altruism makes them both of little use to claim it as a distinction worth defending when considered among these other pet-grievances.

Tony, you and I should both put our cards on the table. You can't possibly be enthused by the idea of open immigration from Belgium and Norway, Germany and England, Finland, and Estonia if the émigré is distinctly white and inclined toward solidarity with his co-racialists. But I should come clean as well and this may be surprising. If I, as the great-grandson of Irish emigrants to America, were today faced with the absorption of 12 million Irish, possessing the same limited skills of my great-grandfather, I'd be just as inclined to turn him away as I am to turn away your particular affinity group whomever they may be. I feel this way because at this point in America's history, she needs more brains than sinew.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Mr. Fitzroy,

This has gone on far enough. I told you were were not going to have an endless conversation about race in a post about the children in Postville, Iowa. Not to mention that I just don't have the time to respond to magical logic that somehow converts white people into an underprivileged ethnic group.

If you'd like to continue to post here than I ask a few things. First tell us about who you are, where your from, and why this issue matters to you. Second, focus on coming towards a solution not just endless pointless debate.

If you can't do those things I will not only stop responding to your intellectual games but I will stop publishing your comments.

I've been civil and I've asked you nicely before, but my patience is wearing thin.

Tony Herrera said:

@Kevin Fitzroy

Mr. Fitzroy said:

"Tony, you and I should both put our cards on the table. You can't possibly be enthused by the idea of open immigration from Belgium and Norway, Germany and England, Finland, and Estonia if the émigré is distinctly white and inclined toward solidarity with his co-racialists."

You are incorrect to assume that my support for the passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a reform that would provide legalization and a path to Citizenship for all undocumented immigrants has anything to do with the race.

The fact that some of the current undocumented immigrants are European, Canadian, French, Korean, Chinese, or Middle Easterners is lost amongst Nativists' who only seek to frame the issue on the basis of race.

Your statement of:

"If I, as the great-grandson of Irish emigrants to America, were today faced with the absorption of 12 million Irish, possessing the same limited skills of my great-grandfather, I'd be just as inclined to turn him away as I am to turn away your particular affinity group whomever they may be. I feel this way because at this point in America's history, she needs more brains than sinew."

It is ironic that similar arguments were being made by anti-immigration proponents when your Great Grandfather entered this nation via Ellis Island.

Your stated inclination to deny your kin entry into the U.S. rings hollow, given the current standing American Citizens of Irish descent currently enjoy in America.

You are clearly a very smart individual, but you fail to grasp a simple aspect, an aspect that has historically contributed towards shaping this country's immigration policy, which is: family reunification.

After all is said and done, like it or not, the Millions of undocumented immigrants, whether they be white, black, brown, yellow or shades between, will be granted work permits, legal residency and eventual Citizenship that affords them to continue to reside in this country alongside their families.


Whether you and other Nativists will accept it or not, It's the best option for resolving the illegal immigration issue, it's the humane and most just thing to do, plus it's the American thing to do.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Oh snap,

Tony nailed it in this comment. Thanks for taking the time to stop by again, Tony. Couldn't have ended this comment thread on a better note. This comment thread is officially now closed.

Norma said:

I just caught up on the story after having heard of the initial raid last year. I was just thinking "whatever happened with the Postville incident" and today the Chicago Tribune had an article on the effects of the Postville raid.

I'm curious, is there any other way to help? I am Mexican, but fostering a child would be something I can do.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on May 18, 2008 4:25 PM.

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