It's Time To Call It What It Is: A Policy Of Mass Deportation
With aircraft circling overhead and the building surrounded, an army of three hundred armed government agents stormed through the doors of the three-story red brick factory. Blocking the exits, some with guns drawn, they ordered the mostly female workers to remain at their sewing stations as they began to check their paperwork. "When we realized what was going on, a lot of people were screaming and crying," a witness said. "They told citizens to stand in one area and the people without papers to stand in another area. It was terrible, they were crying and didn't know what was going to happen." Some ran for the doors only to be met by guards who grabbed the panicked workers, ordering them to the floor. Those few who did manage to make it outside were quickly rounded up by encircling troops.
At the end of the early morning blitz, 350 workers were loaded onto busses and taken to detention centers to await deportation, leaving friends, neighbors and relatives to make arrangements for the hundreds of children left behind. Five owners and managers of the factory, which specializes in materials for the war effort, were also taken into custody for employing workers without proper documentation.*
This scene has become commonplace as the government steps up raids to remove the undocumented
The question now raised by this and the hundreds of other raids that have taken place over the last year is - At what point will those advocating for such actions finally admit the truth and tell the American people that their ultimate goal is to forcibly deport the over 12mil undocumented immigrants currently living in the US.
A few years ago, when people like Tom Tancredo first started attracting attention to their campaign to curb the flow of immigration and eliminate the undocumented population of the US, calling for the mass deportation was a standard part of their rhetoric. But after gaining notoriety and moving the agenda into mainstream political discourse, they started toning down their language. Polling and spin-meisters dictated that the word "deportation" had too many negative connotations for the American people and should be avoided…. So the policy of "enforcement" was born.
Today immigration hawks go to great lengths to avoid the whole topic of deportation. Media mouthpieces such as Lou Dobbs, acting like verbal contortionists, twist and turn their language to stay away from the word. They're not against "immigration or immigrants…only illegal immigrants." They don't favor of mass deportations but rather "the enforcement of the laws already on the books." Tancredo and his fellow anti-immigration Republicans when faced with this conundrum revert to vague inferences to immigrants "leaving of their own accord" once the strict enforcement of laws cause "attrition" of the population due to lack of access to jobs, food and shelter.
But no matter how much they wish to candy-coat their objectives to make them more palatable to an American public that generally opposes the rounding up of their neighbors and the separation of families, the current facts cannot be ignored. The current wave of raids and deportations are illustrative of how they wish to proceed.
This past fiscal year the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System's airline service, tasked with transporting immigrants to be deported, transported a record 116,000 passengers. 51,300 non-Mexican deportees were flown to Central and South America, and 64,700 other undocumented immigrants were flown from the interior of the U.S. to centers on the southern border to be sent back to Mexico. Additionally, nearly one hundred thousand more who were captured closer to the border were transported by busses and other means and returned to Mexico. Over the course of 2006, stepped-up immigration enforcement efforts nationally led to record total of 189,924 arrests and subsequent deportations according to ICE figures. This represented a seven-fold increase since 2002.
While media reports of large-scale raids make national headlines, the vast majority of the raids have been small and garnered little attention outside of the local area. On any given day a quick Google news search of the term "immigration raid" will turn up numerous accounts from small local papers and local TV stations from all over the country. At the current rate, ICE is well on its way to far surpassing last year's deportation numbers and again setting a new record.
With this in mind it's time for the American people to recognize exactly what "enforcement" of our current immigration laws really means in this current situation. It means deportation.
Some like to rationalize this reality by claiming that the raids are intended to "go after employers" who hire "illegals"….but this is simply untrue. Only in a very few high profile cases have any charges been filed against employers. In almost all cases the only people being punished in these raids are those working in terrible conditions for minimum pay.
If in fact, as has become quite evident, the real purpose of the this policy is to eliminate 12 million undocumented immigrants from the American landscape, it's time for those advocating for it to admit the situation and just come out and tell the American people the truth. They don't care if US citizen children are left without parents or placed in detention centers indefinitely. They don't care that workers, some of whom have been here twenty years or more contributing to society, are ripped from their families and friends without warning to be returned to countries they no longer know. They don't care that rather than enforcing workplace, safety and wage regulations they have chosen instead to target the weakest members of society who cannot defend themselves.
But they will never admit this … because they know that even as they work to foster an atmosphere of ethnic intolerance that would tolerate this kind of misguided backlash against immigrant workers through a campaign of misinformation and lies, the American people would never tolerate the idea of mass deportation and incarceration…if they were aware of it….but that it the key. They need to become aware.
Since those who have advocated this agenda will never tell the truth, it is time for those who oppose them to do it for them. We can no longer allow them to hide behind carefully crafted rhetoric intended to inflame populist sentiments while masking the true consequences of their actions. "Enforcement" is merely a euphemism for mass deportation. Lou Dobbs advocates mass deportation. Tom Tancredo advocates mass deportation. FOX news advocates mass deportation. FAIR advocates mass deportation. The House Republicans advocate mass deportation.
Anyone who advocates that the only thing needed to solve the complicated issue of immigration reform is to simply increase enforcement at the border and workplace is advocating for mass deportation….it's as simple as that.
About The Author
Duke is a regular contributor to the blog Migra Matters. Migra Matters is a nonpartisan, educational effort dedicated to making information, news, and opinion about US immigration policy and immigration reform available to concerned citizens. It is dedicated to the enactment of progressive reform that is practical, rational, fair and humane, and it is affiliated with no political party or organization, but supports those who work towards this common goal.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.
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