Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Latina Lista Calls for a Stop on Raids and Deportations for the Remainder of 2007

Latina Lista Calls for a Stop on Raids and Deportations for the Remainder of 2007

LatinaLista — It was called Operation Tamale and ICE officials claim it was a 5-month investigation into the hiring practices of New Mexico’s tamale plant at Proper Foods, Inc.

What’s pleasantly surprising is that for the first time that we’ve heard, ICE made sure that all the 21 undocumented immigrants apprehended, as they shuffled out of the kitchens from making the tamales that will be sold by the dozens for Christmas dinners, received their full paychecks before being bused off for deportation.
Maybe it’s the season but this kind of compassion is what should be standard practice at all work-site raids before deporting undocumented workers.
Yet, precisely because it is the season, the Department of Homeland Security could do one more thing to get into the spirit of the holidays.

The raid at the tamale plant was different than what has been reported before.
Whereas it’s been reported that ICE usually sweeps in, unnecessarily intimidates people, lines them up and marches them onto a bus with little patience or mercy, this time was markedly different.

All but one of those arrested Monday were Mexican nationals. They were 10 men; 10 women, including a Honduran; and a 17-year-old boy.
ICE officials said they contacted the Mexican Consulate to reunite the boy with his family. Consulate spokeswoman Socorro Cordova said the boy would stay in the care of the federal government in Juárez until his parents made arrangements for his return…
ICE officials said three women were released on their own recognizance and told to appear before an immigration judge at a later date. Two men and four women were put in the El Paso immigration detention
center to await deportation.
The others were voluntarily returned to Mexico on Monday. The different treatments depend on whether the migrants had been deported before, whether they have criminal records, or whether they ask to see a judge because they have grounds to stay in the United States.

Because it is the Holiday season, the last thing ICE wants to be caricatured as is the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Maybe that explains the sudden change of heart in advocating for these workers’ wages.
Yet, with only 12 days left before Christmas, there is one thing more that the Department of Homeland Security can do to exemplify that it is in the “Spirit of the Season” — declare a moratorium on further raids and deportations for the month of December.
For every adult taken into custody and deported, who knows how many children are left behind?
Critics yell that these parents should take their children with them but if there is no home to go back to, no relatives who can take you in, no money to rent someplace, no clothes other than what’s on your back, then what kind of parent would rip their children from the comforts, no matter how meager, of their lives here to take them where they literally will have nothing?
To separate parents from their children, especially at Christmastime, is perhaps more cruel than any kind of trauma, aside from sexual and physical abuse, afflicted on a child.
We hope Operation Tamale is the last work-site raid for 2007.
There has been no peace for these families since immigration has become the talking point of this political campaign. Next year is reported to be even worse as more states crack down on enforcement and deportations.
Are we such a vengeful society that we can’t let these hard-working families spend the end of 2007 without feeling like they’re constantly under siege?
We are so much better than that, and it’s the perfect time to prove it.

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  • laura
    December 13, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Raids on immigrants in workplaces and family homes must stop.
    Employers should be checked – or raided – as to whether they adhere to safety, overtime, breaks, and industrial hygiene regulations for all workers – American and immigrant.
    Employment of undocumented people is not the issue. The issue is employers breaking labor laws – which undocumented employees have no choice but to endure.
    In Massachusetts, breast-feeding Guatemalan mothers were flown to Texas jails after a brutal factory raid, while their employers did not spend one day in jail. The factory continued operating, and its owners continue making money.

  • Horace
    December 13, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight.”
    Are you kidding us, Marisa? I call for a Maserati in my driveway for Christmas, but I have no realistic expectations of getting one.
    Anyway, you might just have your wish, as many federal employees will be on use or lose annual leave during Christmas and New Years day weeks, and they’re likely unable to put a sufficient size squad in the field to accomplish much.

  • Frank
    December 14, 2007 at 7:08 am

    I think it far more cruel for the parents to leave their children behind even if they don’t have much to go back home too. A parents love and presence are far more important than material things.
    laura, are you saying we shouldn’t have immigration laws nor enforce them? If I committed a crime, the police shouldn’t go to my home or workplace to find me?
    The issue is both the employer and the employee. The employee should be deported and the employer prosecuted but the wheels of justice don’t turn immediately for a citizen (employer). They are entitled to a hearing and a court date and then prison time and fines if found guilty.

  • Marisa Treviño
    December 14, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I might agree that it would be far more cruel to leave the kids behind but when some of these people are literally going back to nothing, that means they are living on the streets. The streets in South American countries are far more dangerous places than what is here.
    To subject children to that kind of dangerous environment wouldn’t be an option for any loving parent.

    December 14, 2007 at 8:39 am

    It’s the same old song and dance. Either change the laws, ignore the laws or remove the laws from the books completely to satify the needs of illegal aliens that have created their own dilemma. What a wonderful concept to avoid prosecution for breaking existing laws. Any trauma brought upon these poor children are a direct responsibility of their parents, not the laws.

  • Frank
    December 14, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Perhaps the parents should have thought of that before they came here illegally.

  • Marisa Treviño
    December 14, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    That’s why they came.

    December 14, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    They came to have babies and reap the government benefits.

  • Te Para Tres
    December 14, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Laura: The issue is employers breaking labor laws – which undocumented employees have no choice but to endure.
    Employers are some of the most cabezon people on the planet. I know, I am one of them.
    If a man wants to work, then let him work – that’s my philosophy. The gov. has no business meddling in “The right of contract.” I think it’s unjust to deny a man the right to work.
    I understand what you mean about the undocs having little choice but this is also true for U.S. workers.
    Honestly, I’ve seen cases where working conditions are better in Mexico than here in the U.S.
    The problem is that there isn’t enough good jobs to go around in Mexico the way there is here.
    This is because of the ratio of resources to workers. Only Russia has a better ratio but a lot of their resources are unproven and difficult to exploit because of the environment (snow) and their location (boondocks).
    American Apparel seems to be treating their employees quite well in spite of the sweat shop image their industry has been plagued with.
    I’ve always been good to my workers; although, the most I’ve ever had at one time is nine.
    I think the real issue is that people move up in this system. People do not stay screwed forever. And as people move up they take up space in the middle class. We are now seeing a “browning” of the middle class sector where once we saw mostly white. Whites are not comfortable with this. Whites are not dumb. Prudish, arrogant and cold, maybe, but not dumb.
    Whites think that as we brown types make up a greater percentage of the middle class that their percentage gets smaller, as in zero sum. This isn’t true, however, because the diameter of the “pie” gets lager as the economy grows. And as we brown ones correctly know, we contribute our fair share in growing that pie – that economy, if not more.
    From what I’ve been able to determine, whites fear us being upwardly mobile because they see their power structure diminish as ours grows. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for us, this fear is probably warranted.
    What fool would subject himself to the white power structure after we become the majority? If your answer is Gustavo Arellano, ok then name two (haha just kidding).
    White power is circling the drain.
    The only one enjoying the ride in John McCain – god bless that man. The rest are scrambling for lifesavers and trying to take women and children down with them.
    What most whites do not know is that their democracy is basically a shell game. The real power belongs to the neo-cons and the financiers. Regardless of who they elect, they will be no better off than they were four years ago. In fact, they (and us along with them) will most likely be worse off.
    Once us brown types gain control of the political power here in the SO West, we’ll be in the same boat the whites are in now. Voting for this and voting for that and most assuredly falling further and further behind as we do.
    This is one more reason why we need our own space. Our own space on our own ancestral lands. Only a dingbat would believe that the Euros deserve a nation-state on our ancestral lands – and we do not.
    Jorge Ramos has said that the first Latino President of The United States has already been born. The man has vision but he is stuck in the box of the omnipotent gringo.
    I grew up with gringo. I went to school with gringo. The gringo isn’t omnipotent.

  • laura
    December 14, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    We should have good immigration laws. Actually, even with the bad immigration laws we have now, working here without a visa (and paying into tax and social security funds that will never benefit you) is not a crime.
    The raids violate the human rights of immigrants. Once we accept as normal, armed, 6-foot men in boots, entering families’ homes at 4 in the morning, we will be next.
    The raids must stop.

  • Frank
    December 14, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Te, oh I get it you are a reconquista Azlantisa still living in the past and still trying to claim land that no longer belongs to you. Good luck with that one!

  • Frank
    December 14, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    laura, in other words we as a sovereign nation shouldn’t be allowed to enforce our immigration laws? What basic human rights are being violated? None, nada. Again, they aren’t immigrants, they are illegal aliens.

  • Frank
    December 17, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Let me translate yave’s remarks about her objection to too many anti’s in here.
    1. I lack a viable argument for my side of the issue, therefore I don’t want to play anymore and my personal insults aren’t cutting it anymore.
    2. The truth hurts my ears.
    3. Let’s shut up the other side because we are falling behind and they are winning on the national level. We must silence them!

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