April 6, 2007

Editorial:

Walking a fine line on immigration raids

For two weeks in San Diego, Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials have targeted convicted immigration felons for deportation. This involved going to the homes of these felons. In the process, there have been other immigrants not targeted and not convicted felons, arrested for supposedly being in the country illegally, all without due process.

We have maintained that the United States has the right and responsibility to control its borders. The present laws allow for the Immigration officers the right to go into homes with out search warrants and the ability to question, search and arrest anyone they feel is in the country illegally. This is the only enforcement body that has this authority.

With that said, ICE officials need to do their job with an understanding that this is a highly sensitive issue for the Hispanic community, in particular where children are concerned and the thought that they may lose their parents in an instant. Our greatest fear is that these arrest efforts become sweeps reminiscent of the days when immigration officials would close down street blocks going door to door looking for illegals and at the same time trampling over Constitutional and Human Rights without due process.

By all appearances, it seems that immigration officials have been sensitive to the issue of parentless children in San Diego and have made the effort to insure that the children are not left without the care of a parent. As to the question of sweeps and legal residents rights being denied, the jury is still out on those issues.

But more to the point, this is more than just arresting immigrant felons, based on past history, this is more about politics than protecting our borders. The Republican Party, in particular the right wing segment of the party, is a mess. If it wasn’t for bad news, there wouldn’t be any news for the Republican Party. In response, they have a need to rally the conservative segment and generate support. These raids are one way of doing this.

This tactic is tried and true, Pete Wilson used it to great success in his run for governor, and it has been used countless times before and after Wilson. It splits and divides the communities and creates an atmosphere of us against them. Arresting a smattering of illegals and deporting them does little to address the issue of immigration but it does wonders for the moral of the right wing segment of society.

The Republican Party is reaching at straws to booster their image and rally support. At present these immigration arrests are just one of those straws being used.

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