Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Raids continue as politicians talk

In Washington, the power-elite and chattering classes are arguing over the fate of millions of men, women and children in terms of statistics and numbers - deciding how many people will eventually be allowed to finally fulfill their dreams of legitimacy. Yet, out in the real world, where the workday is ten hours long, the pay is hard-earned and the kids need to be fed, there is no sense of peace or security tonight for the immigrants at the heart of the debate.

For all their high-minded talk of family values, honoring hard work, and respect for our immigrant past, the politicians and media that are expending so much hot air and ink on the issue of reforming the broken immigration system seem to have lost sight of the very people they are talking about.

Day after day, as they bicker and quarrel in Washington, the immigration raids continue, one hundred taken here, twenty-five taken there.

Stories in small local papers that never make it to the big national media outlets, the only record of the families torn apart and the children left behind.

Immigration officials arrest 100 at Cassville-area plant


Federal authorities detained more than 100 people believed to be illegal immigrants after serving two criminal search warrants this morning at a George’s Processing Inc. poultry-processing plant in Barry County.

At an afternoon news conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hammons Tower, 901 St. Louis St., U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the plant employees were taken into custody as part of an ongoing investigation into identity fraud and employment of illegal immigrants. The investigation is part of a nationwide effort to combat the unlawful employment of undocumented workers, officials said.

About 100 officers with ICE, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Marshals and the Missouri Highway Patrol served the warrants at the processing plant in Butterfield, north of Cassville, said Pete Baird, assistant special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Kansas City.

Baird said previous federal indictments of five individuals for alleged Social Security fraud and firearms violations are linked to the warrants served at the plant today, but he declined to elaborate on the connections.

“This case is particularly troubling due to the existence of Social Security and identity fraud in addition to the numerous immigration-related violations,” Baird said in a news release.

Most of the people arrested today are from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and Baird said several were conditionally released for humanitarian reasons such as child care. Officials said a specific breakdown of those arrested would be available Wednesday.

An ICE officer handling the detention and deportation of those arrested today said they were being processed in Springfield and would later be transported to jails in Kansas City, St. Louis and Wichita, Kan. Detainees will appear before a federal immigration judge in Kansas City unless they waive their rights to a hearing, he said.

There are no charges pending against George’s, which is based in Springdale, Ark. Company spokesman Glen Balch did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Springfield Business Journal Staff

Just another hundred people taken away.

Just another hundred families broken apart.

Just another hundred parentless children.

Just another hundred spouses waiting for word of the missing.

Just another hundred families wondering how they'll pay the rent, or buy the groceries.

Just another hundred mothers comforting for her neighbor's child.

Just another day while we wait for the those in Washington to figure out what they want to do about the great immigration compromise.

1 comment:

Monty said...

Exactly! This is the reason the passage of this compromise is so crucial. Democrats must realise that the only way we can comprehensively reform our immigration system is to compromise. And this 'grand bargain' with some slight changes, will be fair and effective.