Thursday, December 14, 2006


Latina High School Student: “What Rights Do I Have?”

By: Pachacutec

Some of you may be aware of the recent immigration sweep by the federal government at meatpacking plants around the country over the last week. The ICE surrounded places of work, corralled the adults and took people into custody, reportedly including any number of legal immigrants who made the mistake of working while speaking primarily Spanish. Others reportedly were singled out according to their skin color. Now, according to Latina Lista, a number of children who are legal US citizens have been left by the federal government. . . orphaned by the raids, with both their parents having been taken into custody. So much for "family values," eh?

Here's what one student emailed Latina Lista to say:

I just have a question. The town I live in just had a raid today and when we were going home from school on the bus, they took us straight to an elementary school in the town and kept us there until a parent or legal guardian went to sign us out. I just want to know if they can do that. Can they take students from one school to another and keep us there until our parents go and sign us out? I don't think they can but I just wanted to ask someone that knew. I have been trying to find information on the people's rights during an immigration raid but I can't seem to find anything useful. Please contact me as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your time.

Latina Lista did some research and has some answers for this young woman, but I thought some legal eagles around here might be able to help a bit more. The raids reportedly were targeted at a complex identity theft operation, which provided any number of undocumented people with false papers so they could work. The exploitation of immigrant labor is a continuing abuse in this country driving the wages and working conditions of all American labor down, and the health and safety conditions under which these people work are typically abysmal.

I hope the AFL or some other labor union is getting involved here, but in the meantime, please help get the word out about the sundering of families by our government. These kids are very scared and very confused. We often use this as a joke line, by way of satire of the pearl clutching hypocrisy of the right wing, but this time it's no joke:

Who's taking care of the children?

Update: From the Des Moines Register: "Marshalltown, Ia. — 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." (hat tip to OldCoastie in the comments)

Update II: From the Denver Post: "Inside the meatpacking plant, 'there was a lady crying because she didn't have anybody else here,' Silva said. 'She asked my wife if she wanted to adopt her child. Then she was taken away.'" Why is this reminding me of the story about the DC radio host who punked his audience and got calls in support of armbands, tattoos and concentration camps for Muslims? If anyone has the link for that one, please post it in the comments. I recall C&L had it, but I can't find it. (hat tip to Peterr for the Denver Post link, and to angie and RBG for the links about the radio show)

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