In a new, deeply-reported piece for The Guardian, Sarah Menkedick looks at the impact and aftermath of recent ICE raids conducted in an Ohio community, exploring the ongoing trauma to the community, including families separated and lives forever changed.
An excerpt of the piece is included below:
On 19 June, Ice officers descended on Fresh Mark, a meatpacking plant in Salem, Ohio, and detained 146 workers. The scene was chaotic. “Nos cayó la tormenta,” one worker told me: the storm descended on us.
…The night Sandra was detained, she called Francisco, crying, saying: “Take care of my children.” He was sick with fear. He did not tell the children that their mother might be sent back to a country they did not know. But they picked up on it anyway. On TV, they saw police cars with flashing lights outside their mom’s workplace. The oldest asked why her mother wasn’t home, what was going on. Now, when they see a police car passing, they run inside and hide.
Sandra and Francisco work six days a week: he on the am shift, from 6 to 2.30, she on the pm shift, from 3.30 to midnight. He walked to work at 5am so he wouldn’t have to drive. I asked what they did on the weekends and they looked at me for a moment as if trying to grasp the question. The one day they had off – Sunday – they woke, cleaned the house, went to Walmart to buy groceries, then headed to the lavandería to do laundry.
That was it. That was their American life.
…Americans consume their labor, literally – in protein – and figuratively, in the ongoing enthrall to corporate profit. Yet a significant percentage of Americans want to give absolutely nothing in return. Not a fair minimum wage. Not health care. Not decent education in public schools. Not even the most fundamental right of legality.
At a candlelight vigil for separated immigrant families in DC, a Sikh priest repeated: “We are not separate. We are not separate. We are not separate.” Greed grows out of separateness, out of a belief that I am more deserving of the luxury of comfort, of security, of my house full of light and books than the African who has crossed an ocean and a continent to get here, than the Honduran man who picked my cherries.
Flor told me that while she was waiting in detention, she couldn’t eat, she couldn’t drink. She had no idea if she would see her children again. She had spent $15,000 to get her family here, to this tiny town in Ohio, where there was a job on the line. All she wanted was to work and be with her children.
“I want to give them the best,” she told me. “You know?”