Give Us Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Huddled Masses (and We'll Raid, Shackle, Beat and Detain them)
The economics of immigration are historically complex, and reasonable
people can disagree about how those complexities can best be addressed and
translated into policy (all of which is outside the scope of this blog). What's
not so complex or disputable is that the current vendetta against "aliens" has unleashed
a full scale assault against the civil liberties and human rights of immigrant
communities throughout the country, "documented or undocumented", and empowered
a, largely unaccountable, police apparatus, most notoriously the Bureau of Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The extent and
magnitude of this assault is still largely unknown to most Americans, but
thankfully some of the story is beginning to be told, by the National Network
of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, in a new report released today.
Over a hundred cases of blatant human rights violations are
documented, including the small sampling below:
ICE separates nursing mom from baby
After Saida Umanzor was detained during a
raid and jailed to await deportation, ICE agents took away her nine-month old
daughter, Brittney, who is a U.S. citizen, andplaced the baby in the care of social
workers. Ms. Umanzor was not allowed to nurseBrittney, who had been only breast-fed up
until her mother's arrest.
In all, ICE took six children away,
including Ms. Umanzor's two children and her sister's three, who was at work the day of the ICE
agents barged into her home. Four of the children were U.S. citizens. Ms. Umanzor was arrested on
October 26 and released 11 days later, when she was put under
house arrest with her baby and children.
ICE deports mother, rips family apart
ICE arrested Lilo Mancía and his wife, María Briselda
Amaya, who were among 361 workers detained on March 6, 2007, during a major raid against the Michael Bianco Inc. factory in New Bedford, MA. Only Mr. Mancía was released to care for their sons, Jeffrey, two, and Kevin, five. Ms. Amaya was jailed for over a month and her children
were not allowed to visit her. Then without notice, at four in the morning of April
18, ICE agents roused Ms. Amaya from her sleep and put her on a plane, deported her to Honduras, where she has no house, property, or job. Ms. Amaya and her husband
had fled Honduras fearing violence and had been appealing her case for asylum.
In their mother's absence, her sons, Jeffrey and
Kevin, are suffering emotionally and physically. "He is refusing to eat and needs to be
coaxed to take sustenance," Arthur Dutra, a teacher at the John Hannigan School, wrote in a March 15 letter about Kevin's condition. "He asks for his mother repeatedly."
Jacqueline Arieta, a nurse at the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, wrote
in a separate letter that Jeffrey was having frequent earaches and losing his
appetite due to "acute sadness."
ICE makes "collateral" arrests, sweeping up people
without warrants during neighborhood raid
2007, Richmond, CA: "About
five officers, who identified themselves as police,knocked on the door early in the morning while we were
sleeping. When my younger daughter opened the door to see who was there, they
entered right away. They showed us a picture of someone and asked us if that
person lives here.When we said no, they asked us each to show our papers. They
arrested us because we had nothing to show. They took me, my son-in-law and his father,
and put us in a black van. Later that morning, they switched us to a larger vehicle
carrying many others who were caught in the raids. Even though they only had a few
warrants, it seems they were prepared to arrest many more. This was not an
accident; it was part of their plan."
- A mother who was arrested and detained during the
Richmond ICE raids.
ICE intimidates 12-year-old to enter home; arrests four
2007, New York: At 5:30am, armed ICE agents pounded on the door of the Bonilla-Velasquez home, yelling "Police! Police!"
At the time, Sonia Bonilla was on her way to take her husband to work and left their
daughters - Beatriz, 12, and Dalia, 9 - sleeping at home. Beatriz, awakened by ICE
agent's screams, came to the door. ICE intimidated her, began to ask her who lived
in the house. ICE entered the house without a court warrant or consent, conducted an
unlawful search and illegally detained and arrested four residents at the home were
arrested. ICE never produced a warrant. Sonia Bonilla is a lawful permanent
resident and both her daughters are U.S. citizens. The Bonilla-Velasquez family lives in
constant fear that ICE agents will again return and try to unlawfully enter their home.