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First ICE Raid under Obama: Continuing Failed Bush-Era Enforcement Tactics?

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 02/25/2009 at 11:24am

prison graphicEven
as President Obama delivered his first up-beat address
to the nation,
the Seattle
Times
‘ Lornet Turnbull was reporting the first workplace immigration raid
under the new administration. It happened in Bellingham, Washington, last
night, and served as a sad wake up call to immigrant communities:

Immigration officers today raided an engine
remanufacturing plant in Bellingham, arrested 28 illegal immigrant workers and
began processing them for deportation.

This
week, we wrote about the costly misplaced
priorities
of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), arguing that they don’t come cheap:

Murderers and corporate criminals get off scot-free
while immigrant workers are rounded up in large-scale raids, separated from
husbands and daughters, sentenced to jail, deprived of basic human rights while
incarcerated, and hopelessly separated from American-citizen children and
spouses through the final act of deportation.

Even as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Agency’s budget spiked to $218 million last year (up from $9 million in 2003), report
after report
on horrendous
ICE detention conditions
continued to surface
as people died
and jails
were forced to close
.

While
we came to expect these failed tactics from the Bush Administration, we do not
expect an Administration that campaigned-and won the lion’s share of the Latino
vote-on a platform of Hope and Change to continue them.

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