Mr. President, Stop your Raids on our Communities

Last month, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visited Postville, Iowa to investigate the effects of the immigration raid that occurred in May. Luis Gutierrez (D - Ill.) announced his plans to visit the small town during the House sub-committee hearing that I covered a few weeks ago. Now, after the visit, Gutierrez and Joe Baca (D - Calif.) have written an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, publicly calling on President Bush to stop the ICE raids across the country.

The op-ed is powerful proof that even elected officials understand ICE raids are not only inhumane and unjust, but that they are being used as a political tool, to gain points with the nativist constituency, rather than a real solution to fix our immigration system.

You should read the full piece, but here is a noteworthy excerpt:

There is no other reasonable response than to demand that Bush remember his words of welcome and his commitment to law, by placing a moratorium on Immigration raids until we have passed effective, comprehensive reform. The nation that we love, respect and serve is better than this. Bush stood before the American people and proclaimed:

"An Immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together, or none of them will be solved at all."

But headline-grabbing tactics like the Postville raid had nothing to do with comprehensive reform. Bush has forgotten his promise.

No one benefits when taxpayers pay $590,000 a month to jail Postville's detainees. As a society, we fail when our factories are less safe, when the perpetrators go uncharged or when our laws remove infants from nursing mothers and create broken homes for U.S. citizen children.

We can all agree that we need Immigration reform that is tough on enforcement. However, any system which fails to respect the enormous contributions immigrants make to our workforce, that fails to reflect our proud history of welcoming those who seek a better life and that fails to protect all U.S. workers and our homeland, fails the American people.

The Postville raid failed our nation on all three of those levels. Any future raid would be equally and profoundly inexcusable and cause yet another avoidable blight on our history.