Saturday, July 12, 2008

Voices from a Raid

Maryland recently experienced one its largest immigration raids in years, part of a growing national trend that has increased 10 fold in the last 5 years. According to CASA Maryland, between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Monday, June 30th, 75 federal immigration officials and 50 Anne Arundel County police conducted raids at the offices of Annapolis Painting Service and private homes. Forty-five people were aroused from sleep, seized on the way to work, forced to the ground at gun-point, hand-cuffed in their living rooms, pulled half-clothed from the shower, prohibited from using the bathroom, arrested in front of young children, or otherwise dragged from livelihoods, communities and families. While officials have repeatedly stated that purpose of the raid was to investigate the business practices of Annapolis Painting Services (APS), many of the people arrested had either never worked at APS or had resigned. Those who worked for APS painted homes, others were bakers, all were hard workers contributing to the Annapolis economy.

In the aftermath of this raid, hundreds of people, including young U.S. citizen children, have been thrown into crisis. Of the 45 people taken into custody, more than half were moved out of Maryland within days and are already as far away as Texas and New Mexico. Another 20 people are still in Maryland, but in detention centers far-flung from their families. In the aftermath in Annapolis, families are now homeless and many have lost their primary breadwinners. Families are terrified of interacting with governmental systems like schools and clinics, and certainly the police.

The American News Project visited Annapolis and produced this video showing how workers and families are coping with the raids.

The issue of workplace (workplace related) raids has enormous consequences regarding occupational health and safety and this is something that I would like to see us work together to address.

To be honest I have strayed away from this topic because I am not knowledgeable enough on this subject but I almost have to touch on it because it involves work and family. Now having said that this is not an endorsement of any politician or any policy involved. Just an acknowledgment of an injustice and willingness to be open minded and reasonable. Heck maybe someone can give us all a good solution. I don't know all the ins and outs but giving illegals the opportunity to become legal while keeping the boarders might be one. It seems this would solve much of the issues...such as wage control, social security and workers comp.

What I am willing to touch on are two factors.

Personally I do feel that anyone coming into any country to live should follow the law and become citizens. My step grandmother did just that and then her niece followed in her foot steps. They were proud of their accomplishments as I was. The knowledge they have is unbelievable and most high school graduate's could not pass these test.

Although I do not have an answer to what should or shouldn't be done I do not believe these raids are the way to get the job done. First and foremost it is traumatizing a whole ethnic group and I am hole heartedly against racial profiling. This is in it's self is a form of terrorism. Second, When is it ok for a child to be left in a home alone? Crap if you leave your child in the car (not that I agree with that either) to run in and get something you can be arrested and the police leave a child at home alone for 6 hours. Finally, why is it ok for innocent people to be treated like this? So some may say well we have to get ones braking the law but does that really make it ok. So when the law is looking into a drug bust do the hit the whole block? Should the law go after everyone who may work with them, or hey what about anyone under a certain age or who has blond hair and blue eyes? this really is a load of horse manure. There has to be a better way.

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