Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Despair

On Tuesday March 6th, more than 500 Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents descended upon a factory 45 minutes from my home. Over 300 employees, mostly mothers with young children, were swept up in the raid, shackled together in groups of three by their wrists and ankles and marched to buses which took them 100 miles away. Later, many were flown to Texas. Days past before people knew where their family members were.

A story that has gotten a lot of press here is one of the mothers was nursing a baby. She was was flown to Texas without any consideration that she was her baby's primary caretaker, never mind her sole source of food. The baby became dehydrated and hospitalized. I can't imagine the physical pain (never mind the emotional distress) the mother was in from her milk building up. But I'm sure ICE has breast pumps on hand.

Over the weekend I took the kids and my dad to a rally in the vocational-technical high school of that town to protest the raids, support the families and let the community at large know that we support them in getting through this. Several posters said "Where's my mom?" The boys could read them. "Is someone going to take you away?" they asked.

One of the biggest ironies? The factory makes backpacks for the US Military. That's right. The US Government has a contract with a factory using illegal workers to make backpacks for our troops.

This is not a new story, but the story keeps getting more horrific. In recent months raids have hit nearly every state in the country. Each one of these deportations has a very human element that is about families and children.

Regardless of your view of immigrants, you cannot deny that we are a nation of immigrants. We have got to come up with a sensible policy that allows people to leave their dangerous countries, or countries with limited economies - both often caused by our foreign policies - and be allowed to prosper here. Yes, these women were here illegally. But they were hard-working, making military backpacks and paying taxes.

7 comments:

Alex Elliot said...

I'm speechless....

Gunfighter said...

I know waaaay too much about this stuff... and it makes me ill.

I am so glad to know that you are active in the struggle.

chelle said...

Why is it that it always seems to be the women that they find such a threat?!?! That poor baby and nursing mother!

I do not know a lot of American politics, but being in Southern California and seeing the people on the side of the road and in the fields ... makes me wonder why not here? Why allow them to cross to begin with? Why the violent removal?

Totally inspiring that you took your children!!!

Alex Elliot said...

I should clarify by saying I think what ICE did was repulsive and inhumane.

Jodi said...

Oh my goodness, I'm a very politically aware person and I had no idea this was going on. It reminds me of the holocaust.

soccer mom in denial said...

I've been having some terrific "off-blog" conversations. I do want to emphasize that the ICE staff were simply doing their jobs to implement our nation's immigration "policies". I actually have issues with the state government, which had been alerted about the raid weeks before, not doing more to either demands access to the workers to determine their family situations or to attempt to block it all together.

Unfortunately the McCain-Kennedy bill appears dead but Kennedy vows to press on. There will be more of these raids if our country does not come to terms with immigration.

Amy Barry said...

Yet another story making me ashamed of my country. How, oh how, is it that this type of thing occurs this day in age? How is it possible that people can be so heartless and unthinking? Especially those with the power to do stuff like this? It is depressing, enraging, sickening, and baffling.