The Lady Speaks

Cold as ICE

The aftermath of recent raids on Swift meat-packing plants around the country are getting little attention, except, perhaps, in the blogosphere and the affected states.

Like the Iraq war, the reasons for the raids are a constantly-shifting smoke screen. That the intention was to ‘break up an identity-theft ring’ has been effectively disproven. Only 65 of the 1282 arrested were charged with criminal offenses, according to TPMmuckraker:

According to DHS’ own tally, only 65 of the 1,282 arrests were for criminal violations, including identity-theft related crimes. That means that over 1,200 of the people arrested had no connection to any identity theft rings, and were guilty only of run-of-the-mill immigration violations. […]

Striking a blow against innocent children and their families is more like it. And nine days before Christmas, no less. Instead of ‘No Child Left Behind,’ we have a case of many children – most of them American citizens – left to fend for themselves. Worse, no one seems to know exactly how many children have been orphaned by these raids, and no one seems to know who  is supposed to be in charge of caring for these children.

From the Worthington (MN) Daily Globe:

Concern and uncertainty prevailed Tuesday as educators tried to cope with fallout from the federal immigration sweep at the local Swift and Company plant.

[snip]

No one seemed sure of the fate of children whose parents were detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

[snip]

As of 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Nobles County Family Service Agency had not yet received any reports of children left unattended.

[snip]
“This is something we deal with every single day,” said ICE Public Affairs Officer Tim Counts. “People who we arrest sometimes have children. We are quite accustomed to dealing with this.”

And, like their response to Hurricane Katrina, they’re ‘dealing with this’ by not dealing with it in any real way?

From the Dallas News, via firedoglake:

Late Tuesday in Dallas, agency spokesman Carl Rusnok, asked about delays in getting the workers access to lawyers, said agents at the scene “still have to process the people they have arrested.”

The union also had located at least 35 children in the nearby communities of Dalhart and Stratford whose parents were in custody. Mr. Rodriguez did not know how many children were stranded in Cactus and Dumas, a city about 15 miles from the plant.

[snip]

Federal agencies hadn’t asked Texas officials for help with the workers’ children, said Greg Cunningham, a spokesman for Texas Child Protective Services in Amarillo.

Even finding out who is being held and where they are is difficult. Lawyers who want to advise detainees are – no surprise – getting no help from ICE.

From the Greeley (CO) Tribune:

Lawyers are getting few details from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in tracking those apprehended in the raid at Swift & Co.’s meat processing plant in Greeley on Tuesday.

“I have clients that ICE doesn’t know where they are,” said Arturo Jimenez, an immigration lawyer in Denver who’s been in contact with at least 11 families who are looking for someone taken in the raid. “Some of these folks were calling home and now I found out that there are three for sure in Texas.”

The biggest problem for Jimenez and others is finding where people are being held and getting them legal advice. Just because they are not legal residents, does not mean that they do not have the right to see an attorney or see a judge, he said.

“Even the folks we found, they wouldn’t give us any numbers for them or access to speak with them,” Jimenez said. “It’s pretty ugly.”

[snip]

“We are just continuing to try and find out where people are and trying to get the answers out of ICE,” said Kim Salinas, an immigration attorney in Fort Collins […]

Salinas said she heard as many as 100 were taken to El Paso, Texas on Wednesday when she visited the immigration detention center in Aurora.

“ICE has made it virtually impossible for their families to find these people,” Salinas said. “They are making it harder for people to reunite with their families.”

From the Des Moines Register:

A priest’s and nun’s mission to find the mother of a nursing baby was thwarted today after they said officials from Camp Dodge would not let them inside to tell their story.

[snip]

Carmen Montealegre is one of the women who is taking care of two of her friends’ children with family displaced by the arrests. One of the children, a seven-year-old, asks frequently why her mother was detained, she said.

“She asked me three times, ‘Did she kill someone?’ I said, ‘She was working under another name.’”

The baby left behind has her own problems.

She has been difficult to feed since her mother was arrested, Feagan said.

[…]

Feagan said she and advocates for local Hispanic families have tried to pinpoint exactly how many children are in family-limbo to try to organize help.

A total of 408 students were absent in the Marshalltown community school district as of Wednesday morning, district officials reported.

I guess it’s just more of those ‘compassionate conservative Christian’ values at work, huh?

Feliz Navidad, Amerika.

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December 15, 2006 - Posted by | America, Children, Christmas, Family, Government, Immigration

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