LatinaLista — The story of the largest immigration raid in history that happened at Postville, Iowa would seem like a "has-been" story regurgitated ad nauseam, but there's a second part to it that is proving to be more disturbing than the surprise raid and round-up of 389 people.
Relatives of detained Postville workers react to ICE raid.
It is the fact that the U.S. government has created a virtual "open-air" prison in this town where 43 women who are mothers and accustomed to working to feed their children must wear ankle bracelets to monitor their movements and are reduced to begging for food because the federal government won't allow them to work or otherwise provide for their children â€” and won't allow them to leave.
In fact, when a federal immigration judge in Chicago issued a ruling last week allowing 10 women who had been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Postville raid to return to their home countries voluntarily, he went against what ICE officials had wanted, which was deportation.
Because ICE wants to make sure these women never have the opportunity to legally re-enter the country.
Court spokeswoman Elaine Komis said Thursday that under voluntary departure a person can voluntary leave the country within a specific period and is not subject to penalties against returning to the U.S. legally.
If a person is removed, or deported, and wants to return to the U.S., there are certain restrictions limiting their ability to enter the country. Komis said in some cases, people can be permanently barred from returning.
Suddenly, these massive work site raids with their mass deportations make sense.
As much as politicians parrot the argument that these same immigrants would be welcome to return to the country if they got in back of the imaginary line, ICE's actions are making them ineligible to be able to do that.
No wonder ICE officials are holding these women and others around the country for deportation hearings â€” at the expense of their well-being and the well-being of their children â€” because as a deported immigrant they become criminalized and therefore "undesirable immigrants."
Also, with ICE's punitive actions on these women, for the first time, these undocumented immigrants are a burden on their local community.
The pastor of the local Catholic Church has stated that his 4-person staff has had to raise $500,000 to pay for the rent, clothes and food for these families whom the government won't allow to work, leave or stay.
It is a clear sign that there lacks oversight on the actions of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and that if the government is going to subject these families to these kinds of inhumane conditions then they must be accountable for their welfare in the meantime.