Sunday, September 14, 2008

Preparing for ICE Raids

Immigrant rights organizations and immigrant communities are concerned about the surge in ICE raids over the past several months. Nicole Gaouette of the Los Angeles Times writes about how some groups are preparing:

Reeling from work-site raids that have jailed thousands of illegal workers, immigration organizations are quietly assembling informal networks to gather advance information about federal enforcement operations and to help locals and laborers prepare.

Students, union officials, waiters and others are volunteering to call in tips about Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents checking into hotels or renting facilities, about the sudden appearance of out-of-town cars and about a surge in action at the local courthouse.

"Is ICE going to tell us when they're coming? What they're doing? No," said Socorro Leos, a community organizer for Mississippi Immigrants' Rights Alliance. "You have to be working with the grass roots, on the ground, training them to be alert, to be very, very conscious, to open their eyes and senses."  Click here for the full story.


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Who cares if some small percentage of illegal aliens avail themselves of the immigration court process? The chance of being granted asylum or cancellation of removal is very small and the cost of representation (yes, even "pro-bono" legal services providers will charge these people an "administrative" fee), will make defending these cases very difficult indeed. Most will in the end accept voluntary departure or be removed. More importantly, these raids are beginning to have a salutary effect on the illegal alien slave-masters. Little by little there will be no more jobs and, eventually, no more illegal aliens. Attrition through enforcement--it really does work!

Posted by: Susan Goya | Sep 14, 2008 3:08:44 PM

Hing is using the woes of illegal immigrants to advance his own career.

Posted by: Thomas Lillich | Sep 14, 2008 4:15:58 PM

"...a sense that the immigration law and its enforcement are fundamentally unjust and illegitimate."

A body of rules without enforcement isn't a true legal system, but I see a lot of declared opposition to immigration law enforcement but not immigration law itself. This makes no sense. If you are categorically against immigration law enforcement, you are also against immigration law itself.

Some people say they are not against all enforcement, but are wary of a system based on high levels of enforcement not implemented until after the unauthorized person is already here and would result in detention and deportation. That's certainly a legitimate criticism of the current model.

However, you also hear a lot of rationalizations for unlawful presence and it's implied that police action and detention do not fit the seriousness of the offense, e.g., the traffic ticket analogy, civil vs. criminal distinction, etc. When you hear this rationalization you wonder if they are really just uncertain about police action and detention or if they really think the unlawfully present have an absolute right to reside in the U.S. It would be easy to find out--ask them what they'd think of a system which by means of verification and auditing prevented illegal aliens from being able to work and reside in the U.S., i.e., prevention. If they are also against prevention, they are really in that 'fundamentally unjust and illegitimate' category and don't believe a sovereign nation-state even has the right to determine who or how many shall reside within its borders.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 15, 2008 12:50:22 AM

Jim Crow laws were worth fighting, so are these deportations.

Immigration law is set up to make it very very difficult to come here legally, but our economic policies like NAFTA make it very very difficult to survive in places like Mexico. So people make the difficult decision to migrate to find work, illegally if they have to.

It's pretty crazy that we live in a country where it is literally illegal to try to survive by doing a hard days work.

Posted by: mary | Sep 15, 2008 1:01:43 PM

I am no criminal lawyer and assume you aren't either. I would be careful about encouraging anyone to impede with or otherwise obstruct a federal law enforcement operation.

If you are an activist and are thinking of blocking an ICE enforcement activity or aiding others in doing so I suggest you consult a criminal lawyer first. You could be charged with obstruction of justice and/or an accessory to a crime.

Here's what ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said on the subject:

"The work of advocacy groups is very important and while we appreciate their right to do so, we believe their efforts would better serve the public if they encouraged individuals to comply with the law rather than impede our efforts to enforce it."

Posted by: peter | Sep 15, 2008 5:55:41 PM

'...our economic policies like NAFTA make it very very difficult to survive in places like Mexico.'

While I am sympathetic to that issue, it's still not acceptable to use that as a rationalization for rampant law breaking and a corrupt immigration system. It's a stretch to redefine refugee as anyone in the world who lives hand to mouth or makes less money than they could in the U.S. And it would be the height of impracticality to give all such persons the right to reside in the U.S.

Posted by: Jack | Sep 16, 2008 3:35:12 AM

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