Immigration Raids Run Amok
The New York Times has a compelling article today about recent immigration raids in Suffolk County, Long Island, initiated after local police submitted names of those they subjectively believed to have gang affiliations.
Not surprisingly, they were wrong. And some of the Greenport, NY employers of those arrested are helping by providing lawyers and other support.
The raid was part of the two year old ICE program, Operation Community Shield, aimed at undocumented violent gang members. The Long Island raid resulted in 186 arrests. Of the 11 men arrested in Greenport (without warrants while inside their homes) one, a 19 year old, may be associated with a gang -- and even that is hotly disputed.
The 10 others, while accused of immigration violations, were not gang associates and had no criminal records. Instead, they were known as good workers and family men. When they suddenly vanished into the far-flung immigration detention system, six of their employers hired lawyers to try to find and free them.
As the Greenport mayor says,
“The whole gang issue is something to keep the white majority scared about the Latino population, and to come in and bust as many people as they want.”
The warrantless home arrests have been used with increasing frequency since 2005.
By law, immigration agents without judicial warrants may enter homes only with the consent of the residents. They may not use racial or ethnic profiling to single people out. But they have broad authority to detain anyone they encounter if they have grounds for suspicion that the person is not in the country legally. The legality of recent home raids has been challenged in federal court in New York and elsewhere.
....For decades, such raids were rare, in part because the idea of home as an inviolable space has been enshrined by the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. “We are now in the midst of a major resurgence” in home raids, Professor Kanstroom said.
It wasn't easy for the employers to track down their valued employees. Take for example Marvin Lopez who has worked as a vegetable packer for Satur Farms, which is owned by former Lutece executive chef Eberhard Müller and his wife:
For the first six to eight days, the Lopez cousins and Mr. Salazar were held incommunicado, without access to counsel, at the maximum-security Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Muslim immigrants considered terror suspects were held after 9/11.
....Two weeks after the raid, the lawyer [hired by the Mullers to help Lopez] found him: he had been sent in shackles from Brooklyn to a detention center in Rhode Island, and on to a New Jersey jail.
Lopez is now free on $10,000 bond, posted by Satur Farms, and applying for asylum.
Then there's Mr. Tzun, who entered the U.S. legally but overstayed his visa which expired in 2000.
Mr. Tzun was sent through two county jails to a federal detention center in York, Pa. But even as his boss was driving to York to hire a Pennsylvania lawyer to seek bond, Mr. Tzun was being flown to a privately run prison in rural New Mexico.
It used to be that men like Tzun and Sanchez, with no prior criminal records or deportation orders, were granted bond pending a deportation hearing.
But none of those arrested in the September sweep in New York were released by the New York field office.
Four of the men, Guatamalan landscapers are unaccounted for. As for Mr. Tzun,
[He] was released on $10,000 bond on Nov. 6 after he agreed to leave for Guatemala by Dec. 15. He has returned to say goodbye to his daughter, Sarah, and her mother, Amanda Rodriguez, with whom he had lived for six years. Mr. Tzun considered himself the stepfather of Ms. Rodriguez’s three other children, including Pedro Rodriguez, who was on the original target list. Pedro Rodriguez said he was persuaded in detention to sign deportation papers — as were his cousin Arturo and Mr. Montenegro. Mr. Rodriguez, who was 12 when his mother brought him to the United States, was deported to Mexico in late October.
It's time for these immigration raids to stop. We need a path to citizenship for those who are already in this country. It is unacceptable to rip these families apart.
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