LatinaLista — About an hour before last night's presidential debate, I received a press release entitled "Experts Available to Discuss Immigration After Tonight's Presidential Debate." Ten people with knowledge on immigration issues had cell phones in hand ready for any media questions that were bound to come their way had only the candidates gotten around to the topic.
Senators John McCain and Barack Obama "smile" after Tuesday night's debate in Nashville, TN.
(Source: Berna Rosario)
But with the way the debate rules seemed to change throughout the evening, it's no wonder there wasn't any more time for questions. It's particularly disappointing that immigration wasn't addressed in light of another massive immigration raid that took place only 263 miles away from the debate site.
Had the candidates had time to answer a question on immigration, it should have been one question that would not have dealt with the regular issues that pit them against other members of their party like amnesty, border security or the border fence.
It would have been the one question that neither candidate has addressed but because of the situation in the country, it's imperative that they do:
Do you support a moratorium on immigration raids?
The latest immigration raid took place in Greenville, South Carolina at a poultry plant where approximately 300 undocumented immigrants were detained.
In an AP article, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman was quoted as saying, "They're all illegals. We have charged them with being in violation of U.S. immigration laws."
Yet, an immigration attorney rebuked that statement by saying "A judge has to say that, they can't just say that." But ICE's generalization of the detainees is not surprising as more reports surface that this branch of government is increasingly acting like the judge and jury before these people even get the opportunity to stand before a judge.
A 4-year-old boy waits for word of his mother, who was taken during the immigration raid in South Carolina.
And in too many cases, detainees and lawyers are revealing that ICE agents intimidate detainees to accept voluntary deportation back to Mexico or wherever they came from, knowing that it makes their efforts to legally reenter the country that much harder.
The raids have reached such crisis proportions that members of Congress are now calling on the President to put a moratorium on the raids.
Today, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a call to President Bush to stop the raids.
In part, the letter to the President reads:
Let us be clear. We believe that the Department of Homeland Security has an essential mission to fulfill. We must secure the borders. We must ensure a legal workforce. We must hold abusive employers accountable for exploiting workers, whether they are immigrant or native-born.
Enforcement alone, however, no matter how well formulated or funded, is doomed to fail. We cannot deport our way out of this problem. The more we pursue millions of immigrants for simply working, the fewer resources we will have to root out terrorists, bring drug and human smugglers to justice, and deport those who are truly violent and dangerous to our communities.
Our call to cease workplace raids comes from our experience with their toll on communities and families, and our belief that they are ineffective law enforcement tacticsâ€¦
If President Bush wants to salvage any kind of positive legacy, he should respond by enforcing the moratorium until Congress can suitably address the issue.
Also, since both candidates like to showcase their leadership skills during times of crisis, each should release a statement acknowledging the raids, the call for a moratorium and what each thinks should be done.
The response to this question would give all Americans not only a clearer idea of how each man would govern but answer the pivotal question â€”Â just how much change he would really bring to Washington.