Should we treat undocumented aliens humanely? Asking this question today is akin to asking whether special privileges should be given to prisoners: 'no damnit, they should live on bread and water and break rocks, etc…' I particularly detest the use of the term "aliens" a political buzzword perfected by the Republican hate machine. Be that as it may, the so-called Department of Homeland Security is carrying out aggressive actions to round up undocumented workers. These actions take no regard for the fact that the person rounded up and deported may be the sole-breadwinner or caretaker to a family of children. Nativists have no problem with leaving a group of "illegal" children destitute and without parents. Most human beings feel otherwise. One need not be "pro-immigrant" to question whether families should be split up with the children remaining parent-less or father-less. I think most rational human beings believe that families should be accorded some level of respect or protection.
A recent article in the New York Times illustrates the fear and intimidation that is taking place throughout the country.
Published: The New York Times,
From Illinois to
They avoid the police, even hesitating to report crimes.
“When we leave in the morning we know we are going to work,” said Elena G., a 47-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant and
Last year, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested more than 35,000 illegal immigrants, including unauthorized workers and immigration fugitives, more than double the number in 2006. They sent 276,912 immigrants back to their home countries, a record number.
Since about three-quarters of an estimated 11.3 million illegal immigrants nationwide are from
A survey by the
“The raids have really spooked them in a big way,” said Douglas S. Massey, a
Based on his own surveys and recent reports from other scholars doing field research in the Southwest and in North Carolina and other states, Professor Massey said the “palpable sense of fear and of traumatization” in immigrant communities was more intense than at any other time since the mass deportations of Mexican farm workers in 1954. …
Nonetheless, for many residents fear has become a daily companion. One woman, a 37-year-old naturalized citizen who was born in
After they were married in 2004, she realized that under immigration law it would be difficult for him to become legal, even though she is a citizen. Because he had crossed the border illegally, seeking legal status would require him to return to
“I know everything about
Miriam M. and her husband, married in 2004, own a tidy house on a peaceful street and are raising four children from previous marriages, all
Even though Miriam M. is a citizen, it is difficult for her husband to obtain legal papers, since he entered illegally from
“Boyfriend and girlfriend, you don’t think much about it,” she said. “All right, maybe I didn’t want to think much about it.”
Now he stays close to home and avoids downtown
Mr. Hyde and other city officials said they expected to wait several years before Congress adopted new laws to control illegal immigration. Meanwhile, the mayor said, he will do what he can by enforcing local law.
“Do I believe in closing the borders?” Mr. Hyde said. “Do I believe in putting troops down there? You bet your life. Illegal is illegal, and that’s the end of the conversation, really.”
Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Hilda Solis [D, CA-32] to mitigate the impact of the ICE raids on families. The bill entitled, Families First Immigration Enforcement Act, H. R. 3980, (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.3980:) whose stated purpose is:
To provide for safe and humane policies and procedures pertaining to the arrest, detention, and processing of aliens in immigration enforcement operations.
Although the bill almost certainly has no chance of passing it is incumbent upon anyone who believes that all people should be treated humanely – most especially working families – to contact their representatives and immigrant advocates.
get my posts delivered to your inbox directly, by subscribing to my feeds by email.