- The horrific Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids have terrorized communities all over the United States. The terrorizing isn't (and couldn't be) limited to unauthorized immigrants; it affects whole communities, children and families, many of whom are U.S. citizens.
- The raids leave devastated communities in their wake and ruin local economies. For proof of how much immigrants do to strengthen our local economies, look at what happened in the small community of Postville, Iowa. Before the May 12, 2008, ICE raid, this was a thriving paragon of integration and cross-cultural cooperation with a population of more than 2,200. The community of Postville is now a ghost town, a shadow of its former self, having lost approximately a quarter of its population. Every single member of the community has been deeply affected by the raid. (Go here for more information about the Postville raid.)
- Families are torn apart by the raids, and fear runs rampant throughout the community, not only among Latinos and immigrants, but especially among children, who fear that their parents will be taken away from them as the parents of their friends and classmates have been. The raids establish a climate of fear for everyone in the affected communities.
- Workers caught up in the ICE raids have been denied due process. The cases involving the workers from Postville were not reviewed individually, nor were individual circumstances taken into account. All the cases were treated exactly alike and were railroaded through court ten at a time. The system was designed for the wholesale imposition of guilt. It is unlikely that the workers understood the charges against them.
- Enforcement-only policies encourage profiling. Many Latinos, regardless of their immigration status, are harassed and frightened. Friends and relatives occasionally just disappear, presumably picked up by ICE, but no one knows for sure. For many, this experience is eerily familiar, as they come from countries where friends and family were once regularly "disappeared" by regional death squads.
Today our friends from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement are demonstrating in Washington, DC, to ask the new administration to work for fair and comprehensive immigration reform. If you would like to support their work, please join the Fair Immigration Reform Movement cause on Facebook, support the New Day for Immigration, and sign the pledge at Building America Together:
I commit to stand for America's finest ideals and core community values and publicly reject the politics of division and isolation that fan anger and hate against any person or community. I will work towards just, workable and humane immigration reform.
We can do this. Yes we can! ¡Sí, se puede!