Friday, December 15, 2006

Operation Wagonwheel, immigration raids

From a new blog, authored in part by Christy Harvey,a project of a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. I find it very interesting that in these raids what they have done is indiscriminate arrests, looking for "brown" people without regard to their citizenship. Driving while black is often enough to get a black person arrested, now evidently working while brown is also enough to get you imprisoned. These are police state tactics, not good police work or investigative work. Even the name of the operation, "wagonwheel" is strange. The last time we circled wagons, we committed genocide against Native Americans. Where are we going with this?

Here's the rundown from MikeCheckradio:

Massive Immigration Raids
Crackdown! The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration division has arrested 1,282 people, most of them undocumented workers, as part of a massive raid on meatpacking plants in six states. The raid is the largest federal immigration raid in U.S. history. [TPM Muckraker]
The DHS insists that the plants, owned by the Swift meatpacking company, are the sites of widespread immigration violations and identity theft schemes.
But the raids have shocked the small communities where these plants were, with hundreds of citizens disappearing overnight. Federal raids on the plants are not an uncommon occurance, but in Worthington, Minnesota, “Never before had so many workers — 230 — been detained or arrested. Never before had the fallout of the raid created so much fear and distrust among so many.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
According to Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercian Union,"Stormtroopers came in with machine guns, rounded [the workers] into the cafeterias, separated identified citizens from non-citizens, and then they took away all green cards and put non-citizens onto buses.”
The arrested workers have been barred from seeing lawyers or members of their family. Many of them had kids who were at school or daycare, and the children were left without any way to get home. At CanyonElementary School in Utah, 100 kids had parents or family members taken by the raids (about a quarter of the students). [KSL] via [TPM Muckraker]
The raids also allegedly used crass racial profiling: One worker described the agents separating non-latinos and people with light skin, while forcing everyone with dark skin to submit to careful scrutiny. “I was in line because of the color of my skin,” one employee said. “They’re discriminating against me. I’m from the United States…” [Salt Lake City Tribune]
Officials in Washington are bewildered by the timing of the raid, saying there is neither a relevant political motive, nor any real need for the sudden and harsh crackdown.Link


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