Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stop the immigration raids


In 2008, thousands of workers were arrested in workplace raids, an eight-fold increase since 2002. Many of the workers were deported leaving behind children without parents, spouses (some of whom were U.S. citizens) without partners, and broken communities. The raids of businesses and homes occur at any time of the day or night, creating an atmosphere of terror in immigrant communities.

On February 24th the first immigration raid of the Obama Administration took place in Bellingham, Washington. Some 28 workers in an engine manufacturing plant were arrested. The raid violates President Obama’s vision of a united America full of hope, opportunity, and equal rights for all.

Indiscriminate raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) target people solely for being undocumented. They arrest contributing members of our society. They hurt workers, businesses, and communities, and aggravate current economic hardships. Raids are not having any significant impact on the number of unauthorized workers. They are not raising wages in low-wage jobs. They seldom penalize employers who abuse workers. But fear about raids is crippling immigrant communities.

The raids must stop. Comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy to provide for family reunification and a path to citizenship must be enacted by Congress and signed by the President.

Tell President Obama to stop the raids.

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