Friday, March 30, 2007

Immigration Raids in Baltimore

Yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raised several Baltimore area businesses looking for temp workers employed by Jones Industrial Network, a local firm that boasts and ability to send hundreds of workers to a client at one time. According to the Baltimore Sun, ICE agents arrested 69 individuals in the raids.

From the story:
The raids come a day after a federal judge imposed a five-month prison sentence on the owner of local Japanese restaurants for hiring illegal workers. The raids are part of a national effort to dissuade employers from violating federal immigration law.

Federal officials said their investigation focuses on the temp agency.
This temp agency has provided workers to Under Armour (the sportswear manufacturer) and other private firms in the area and the Maryland Department of Education and State Highway Administration. Immigration officials have not filed charges against the temp agency or any of its clients, noting that none of agency's clients is a target of the investigation which began in 2006. However, charges have not been ruled out against the agency's officers.

What sounds like a pretty run of the mill (if infreqent) immigration raid took on a different tact yesterday. From the Sun:
Many of the detainees are from Central American countries, including El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. They are being held at the York County Prison in Pennsylvania and the Dorchester County and Worcester County detention centers, immigration officials said.

By late afternoon, word of the arrests spread throughout the city's Latino community, and advocacy groups held a news conference to denounce the arrests.

"We cannot wait any more and stand by the side while our community is being demoralized, breaking apart, divided by a broken law, which is this immigration law," said Juan Carlos Ruiz, a spokesman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement based in Washington. "We don't believe this is right. We don't believe this is the way you view America."

Ruiz was joined by about three dozen mostly Spanish-speaking people outside Jones' headquarters. Those saying they were related to people arrested spoke, including the sister of a 4-month-old baby who said their mother was among those detained.

Immigration officials said detainees with dependents could be released with supervision. Dinkins said the detainees are asked four times throughout processing whether they have dependent children, and he said 20 of the people detained yesterday might qualify for humanitarian release.

Representatives of CASA of Maryland, the state's largest immigrant advocacy organization though, were still critical of the process.

"We want fair and comprehensive immigration reform now which does not terrorize our community," said Christy Swanson, director of services of CASA. "Their families are being asked to live in terror without knowing what will happen next. We're calling for a moratorium on deportation and ICE raids while we firmly and fairly debate the need for comprehensive immigration reform."

A judge will ultimately determine whether any of the detainees would be removed from the country.
So, people who are being arrested for violating the law may be eligible for humanitarian release!!!. If a person is arrested for violating, say the law against stealing, there is no doubt in my mind that they would not be granted a "humanitarian release" because they have children at home. Bail, perhaps, would be granted, but not a free pass.

Second, CASA of Maryland is asking that the current law not be enforced until Congress has finished the debate on a new law? What is the logic in that? CASA does not like the current law so that law should be ignored until a new one is passed. What if that one is unacceptable? Should that one be ignored too! Must be nice to live in a world where people only have to obey the laws they like.

CASA is also looking for a law that does not "terrorize" the illegal community. So they want an immigration law that will look the other way on illegals because an illegal status is a actually victimhood. Oh and apparently being worried about being arrested for being illegal is now government "terrorism." Please, if you are on the lam for committing a burglary, that is not terrorism by the government, that is an investigation and manhunt.

Oh, and if CASA wants to make a point about "our community" then having a woman with the whitest possible name may not be the best spokesperson (but that is just me).

UPDATE 12:56pm: Welcome Michelle Malkin readers--thanks for dropping by. The Balitmore Sun has an op-ed by Jean Marbella in which she writes:
So now what? Even these stepped-up enforcement efforts are barely making a dent in that 12 million figure. There's the ship-'em-all-back mindset, but unless there's also a plan for who will take all those suddenly vacant and mostly low-wage jobs, that's more bluster than realistic option.

Maybe it's simply time to face the fact that we're addicted to this steady pool of cheap labor, and figure out how to deal with it. Maybe it's a guest worker program -- which a Time magazine poll last year found was supported by nearly 80 percent of those surveyed -- or maybe it's some other process that allows illegals who have demonstrated that they want to work to do so legally.
While we may be addicted to the cheap labor, it is not a reason to ignore the legal realities.

The larger problem is that the United States has always looked at immigration as a labor issue, one in which immigrants, legal and illegal, provide cheap labor and thus we should look the other way since it keeps our economy humming along. While that mindset might have been fine in the 19th and early 20th Century, in the late 20th Century and today, the issue is more a matter of law enforcement and national security than labor. We must look beyond the labor/economy argument and ask ourselves, are we any safer by allowing illegals into this country?


STUBBY said...

Enough of the whining about disrupting the community of illegals. This is exactly what we need more of. The plight of these illegal aliens is none of our concern. The more chaos the arrests create, the sooner these invaders and parasites will leave and the word will be out finally that the USA is sick of this and we will enforce our laws and protect our culture. California, particularly the Los Angeles area, has been ruined by illegals and is no longer a fit place to reside. Don't let this happen to the other great cities of this country. Get rid of these vermin now.

mlnicosia said...

I have no sympathy for people who break our laws, commit identity fraud, evade taxes... then demand their rights? It amazes me that so many Americans are apathetic to these crimes.

Kent said...

"We must look beyond the labor/economy argument and ask ourselves, are we any safer by allowing illegals into this country?"

Well, one way to help curb the tide of illegals crossing into America would be to reduce America's demand for them. If cheap labor is the reason for smuggling in illegals, then we should look into it.

Instead of raising the federal minimum wage; maybe we should look at removing this incredibly poor piece of legislation. It would have several effects, unemployment would be reduced, prices for goods may be lowered, and now there would be no political excuse for companies to hire illegals.

Will this solve the issue completely? No. Not every illegal is coming to our country for employment, as you suggested, some have more sinister motives. But it might free some in the government from the politically correct handcuffs that make them turn a blind eye to this security issue.

Anonymous said...

Anyone released for "humanitarian" reasons was arrested and charged with violating immigration law. They will have to appear in court. All were released under an intensive supervision program that includes electronic monitoring (bracelets). They may have been able to go home to take care of children so ICE would not face all the bad press they did in New Bedford, but they were definitely not let off the hook.