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Immigration crimes and victims

I've been tracking the story about the immigration raid in New Bedford, MA on March 6.  The short summary is that the federal government planned a raid on a factory in New Bedford that had hired many illegal immigrants.  This factory, ironically, was making backbacks for the Department of Defense.  However, many of the people arrested had dependent children at home who were left behind as the illegals were sent to Texas for processing. 

I strongly believe that we need to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants.  If it is hard to get a job here as an illegal immigrant, fewer illegal immigrants will come.

I also think that illegal immigrants run the risk of being prosecuted.  We have been so lax for the past 20 years or more that it's hard to crack down now.  But, the mood of the country has stiffened on this front, and illegal immigrants know that they could be deported if caught.  My personal feeling is that we should be very tolerant of hard working immigrants as they generally add more to our society than they cost us.  The US was strengthened by the big wave if (legal) immigration in the late 1800s through early 1900s.  But, until the laws are changed, illegal is illegal.

Two things happened here that shouldn't have:  First, but less importantly, the factory was still in business the day after the raid, making their backpacks for the Department of Defense.  The federal government should have put this guy out of business, or at least cancelled all his federal contracts.  The employer committed the much more significant crime than the employees, in my opinion.

But, the real crime was how the federal government treated the immigrants, particularly those with small children.  According to the Massachusetts officials, the state had coordinated with the federal government to have social services people involved with those arrested to ensure that any dependent children were taken care of as the illegal immigrants were processed.  At the last minute, it appears that the federal government did not allow this and went ahead with the raid.  Mothers, including those who were nursing their babies, were arrested and sent to Texas.  No access was given to them by social services.  One seven year old child at home called a hotline to report that his mother never came home.  Some of these children are US citizens as they were born here (that's also a law!). 

This wasn't a national security matter.  Other than a flight risk, these people didn't represent any threat to the community or to others.  There was no reason to whisk them off to Texas before making sure that their children were taken care of.  The children are not criminals.  The federal government of course, called the factory a 'crime scene', which is the reason why the social services people were not allowed there.  They never apologized or acknowledged that their handling of the matter was wrong.

As a society, we need to protect our children and those who can't take care of themselves.  To leave these children scared, hungry, and unattended was the real immigration crime here.  Shame on us all if we let this happen again.


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