t r u t h o u t | 09.30
Tuesday 30 September 2008
by: Bill Quigley, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Is this what our nation has come to? War against unarmed working mothers? Have we no shame?
Dozens of petite young mothers gathered this week in the parking lot outside the
From the outside, the building looked like any office park. But a blue Homeland Security flag waved right next to the red white and blue out in front. Inside, the mothers were being interviewed and readied for deportation.
The crime these mothers are charged with? Not guns, not drugs, not spying. Working to put food on the table for their families and not being citizens of the
Heavily armed federal agents stormed the
About one hundred women and nearly three hundred men were arrested. Most of the men are in prison. The women are wearing ankle bracelets 24/7.
One of the women has been working in the
In the Homeland Security office, no guns were visible. Agents were polite as interviews were conducted at several desks in an open office area. Yet, tears dripped down the face of one mother as federal agents questioned her.
These hundred mothers are a tiny fraction of the casualties of the
In 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 30,408 immigrants, about double the number for 2006.
This 2008 election season finds federal criminal agents more active than ever. A few recent operations will illustrate.
In April 2008, federal agents arrested about 400 immigrants working at chicken plants in
In May, US officials rushed eleven restaurants in
Later in May, 389 immigrants were arrested in
In July, 43 agricultural workers were arrested in
In August, federal officials arrested 59 people working at a parachute plant in
Later in August, over 350 workers were arrested in a workplace raid in
Thus far in September, there has been an increasing number of raids. In early September, federal agents raided a bakery in
In the last week, federal agents raided a house in Hercules,
What the hell is going on? How many working mothers and fathers and children must be sacrificed in this election-year war?
The militarized war on unarmed immigrant mothers, fathers and children is expected to continue until at least after the November elections. By then, thousands more will be arrested and deported. After the election, the new Congress and the new administration will certainly turn their attention to substantive immigration reform. The high-profile war on unarmed working mothers will likely slow down a little. Mothers, fathers and children will go back to work. The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker will be back in business and the shame will continue.
Bill is a human rights attorney and law professor at
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