Quiet Raids, Slippery ICE and Grinches

The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is shifting its focus to silent or “quiet” raids, as Erin Rosa reports for Campus Progress. In quiet raids, ICE conducts “audits” of staff at pre-selected organizations and gives employers a chance to fire all workers who cannot produce documents of citizenship.

The Bush administration favored dramatic, SWAT-like raids, but the Obama administration is taking a non-confrontational route. As Rosa reports, ICE has announced the latest wave of audits ahead of time, though specific business are not being named “due to the ongoing, law enforcement sensitive nature” of the audits. During a phone briefing, ICE chief John Morton explained that the “over 1,000″ new audits are designed to “create a ‘culture of consequences.’” Undoubtedly, the economic consequence of tens of thousands more people losing their income will be as dramatic as a door kicked open in the middle of the night, and it will affect all of us.

While job loss is undesirable, at least the audits are not aggressive or violent like some raids. Also, undocumented workers could find another job post-audit. The Obama administration’s claims that audits take the burden of raids from workers is defensible in that case, though reports of employers that are fined for having undocumented staff members are hard to find.

However, the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of jailing “unadjusted” refugees after a year is indefensible. As Emily Creighton reports for AlterNet, the U.S. has a long-running and proud history of providing a safe haven for those seeking refuge from persecution “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion.” And yet ICE is incarcerating refugees who have not adjusted to permanent resident status after one year of residency in the U.S. The problem is, permanent resident status is only obtained after a lot of paperwork, vaccinations, and other hurdles have been completed. The process “can take over a year” in and of itself.

A depressed economy and perceived cultural shifts in the U.S. demographic are bringing out the very best and worst of our society. In RaceWire, Michelle Chen writes that the immigration debate today “looks more like a balance sheet” and reflects “the economic anxieties besieging politicians and voters.” Chen does an excellent job underlining a recurring problem: As long as immigration reform is treated like a “number-crunching” exercise, nothing gets fixed. “Without a human rights-based counterpoint to the demand-supply rhetoric,” Chen writes, “lawmakers would be all too willing to cede immigration policy to the corporate gatekeepers of the private sector, while faithfully preserving the structure of inequity.” We can do better than this. “These are numbers, not people.”

Ironically, many immigrants pay into the health care system through payroll taxes, but cannot benefit from them, as EunSook Lee, reports for New America Media. “It is unreasonable and saddening that under the current health reform proposals, the people who really need it will not get it,” writes Lee. “Communities across America are waking up … and Congress needs to take notice.”

Another case of the most vulnerable being targeted unfairly comes, unfortunately, in a place we’d hope never to find it. In the Texas Observer, Melissa del Bosque reports on how the Salvation Army is trading Christmas cheer for anti-immigrant politics. The Salvation Army “and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department” are holding an annual toy drive, but checking immigration status before giving any toys to needy families! “Apparently,” writes del Bosque,”even Santa isn’t immune to the anti-immigrant hysteria brewing in the nation.” Perhaps in the world that the Salvation Army envisions, we will encourage children to leave legal documents for Santa on Christmas Eve, rather than cookies and milk.

Ending on a lighter note, Joshua Holland reports on how the mercurial Lou Dobbs now favors “the very legalization process for unauthorized immigrants that he’s long derided as a brain-dead ‘amnesty’ policy pushed by pernicious liberal elites in order to keep down the wages of good, hardworking Americans.” Dobbs is now championing what he once dubbed “shamnesty.” It is such a jarring reality that Holland muses on whether Dobbs “really is an undocumented Mexican immigrant named Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez” as the Onion facetiously reported.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

DCAtty via Flickr/Creative Commons

By Nezua, Media Consortium


gerlinde p.
gerlinde p8 years ago

so much for the "salvation" army.shame on them.

Mervi R.
Mervi R8 years ago

Thanks for the info...

Adrian Davis
Adrian Davis8 years ago


Zoi Ioz
Zoi Ioz8 years ago

Does anyone know if there is a petition to the Salvation Army to tell them their practices are abhorrent? Because I'd sign it.

Judy Emerson
Judith Emerson8 years ago

"FOOD, INC." revealed big international corporations going to Mexico to recruit new workers, hiring them, & transporting them to their factories in the US. No, they are not stopped at the border. These giant corporations have a deal with our Border Patrol. On occasion, the factories are "raided" by the U.S. Border Patrol & a few designated "illegals" are removed & deported. The entire factory may be totally filled with "illegal aliens," but only the people agreed upon by the corporation & our Border Patrol are actually picked up. Everyone else stays, working for practically slave wages. The big corporation keeps their "Hiring" sign up in Mexico & continues its illegal hiring & transporting of desperate people to work for them...with exceedingly few "rights," low-low wages, & living quarters none of us with our wonderful computers would ever agree to live in. The corporations are not fined. The only people who suffer are their illegally-hired workers. Many, many of these heartless corporations are in the food industry. They provide us with cheap food, we look the other way, & the wheel goes round & round (Buffy St. Marie!) & we are all crushed by the agreed-upon system, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

Native Americans are, indeed, the only people who have an absolute right to be here. Everyone else is really an illegal immigrant & should be required to pass a test devised by Native Americans. Wonder who among us could pass.

Bee Hive Lady
Fiona O8 years ago

I know that the article concluding with the story about Lou Dobbs was supposed to cause the ending to be on a lighter note, but I am so progressive in my political outlook that I could never find humor in anything involving Lou Dobbs..

Chris B.
Chris B8 years ago

I plan to e-mail the Salvation Army and tell them that my donations will stop, until they start practicing their mission statement.

Hope Love and Peace
Past Member 8 years ago

Sending Love & Light!

Jeff J.
Richard N8 years ago

just shaking my head...

Vince D.
Vince D8 years ago


The "third world", and Mexico in particular, had far more people that this country could possibly hold. To top it off, they refuse to control their birthrate. Roy Beck has an excellent presentation, google "Roy Beck gumball" on YouTube.

This country allows well over a million legal immigrants to come here annually, this is quite generous. Much more than traditional levels of 250k. And about half are hispanic. Lots of "diversity" in our immigrants.

We just passed 300M people, we're projected to hit 500M around 2050. That's not sustaining our population, that is setting off a population bomb! We don't have enough jobs, we import vast quanities of oil and other resources, adding more people is not the answer!

We should be reducing our population for many reasons: Better standard of living, less resource comsumption, less CO2 impact, jobs.

I am not for eliminating immigration and in fact my wife is a Chinese immigrant. (LEGAL) But we should limit how many immigrants we accept and eliminate all illegal immigration. Yes, deport them and they can apply to come legally. Yes, they'll have to wait.

Finally, we need to do something about Mexico. Their "leaders" keep the masses in poverty and live it up. Of course, the Mexicans could make a few less babies, that would solve alot of their problems. No that's not racist, just the facts.

Yes, it's a huge problem, amnesty will make it worse. 1986 failed!