The First Step in Fighting Back Against a Broken Immigration System


LatinaLista — It’s pretty much acknowledged that the undocumented don’t have a whole lot of recourse when trying to fight the current immigration enforcement system, a.k.a. ICE or Immigration Customs Enforcement.
But as we’ve seen, and will continue to see, they are not the only ones impacted by a policy gone hysterical. Citizens and legal residents are being caught up in this fiasco and where the undocumented don’t have a voice, those who are citizens do and owe it to themselves and the undocumented to do what needs to be done — sue the government.

It was reported today that some of the workers who were caught up in the immigration raid at the Swift & Co. plants have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE.

Mike Graves (left), Sonia Mendoza, and Pasqual Talamentes are among the eight plaintiffs who are suing over last December’s raids. ‘They knew we were legal, and they still had us detained,’ Ms. Mendoza said.
(Source: The Dallas Morning News)

All of the workers detained during the raid are legal residents — five are citizens.
What marked them for apprehension by ICE agents?
Nothing more than their Latino faces.
The lawsuit charges the government for violating their rights during the raids. The plaintiffs are seeking to end the raids.
Of course, ICE disputes the charges in the lawsuit but it has become a common account from witnesses that the treatment ICE agents afford their charges is less than what it should be.
Sonia Mendoza, a 30-year-old, legal citizen who has been working at the Cactus, Texas plant since graduating from high school recounted that:

She protested being frisked by a male agent, by telling him, “You ain’t going to search me.” She asked for a female agent instead but didn’t get one. Ms. Mendoza said the agents said they were looking for weapons, but workers left their knives on the floor after being filed into another area for immigration processing.
“They asked me for my Social Security number and I said, ‘Hey, that is personal information,’ ” said Ms. Mendoza, who trims brisket at the plant for $13.75 an hour. “They knew we were legal, and they still had us detained. The Constitution gave us all these rights. They violated our rights.”

Legal experts are saying that to file such a lawsuit is unusual. Their tone also implied that cases like these are hardly won, though they admit that the lawyer representing the plaintiffs is so knowledgeable in constitutional law that they have an excellent chance of winning.
Yet, win or lose, as more legal Latinos get rounded up in these raids or are impacted by the intimidating climate brought on by immigration enforcement, it does a disservice to the community as a whole to remain silent and accept that “accidents will happen.”
This is preventable and the Department of Homeland Security needs to be reminded of it — one lawsuit at a time.