National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

A very timely review

February 27, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

As we reported yesterday, immigrant rights groups and immigrant communities from across the country have condemned ICE’s worksite raid resulting in the detention of 28 undocumented immigrants at a manufacturing plant in Billingham, Washington. The community called for clarity on the Obama Administration’s approach to immigration, enforcement and reform. A revival of the past Administration enforcement-only policy was unacceptable for a community that believed in the message of change of President Obama.  Also raising these same concerns was Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who questioned the tactics of worksite raids at a congressional hearing yesterday with Secretary Napolitano. The Washington Times gives us a little insight into their exchange at the hearing:


 


Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the California Democrat who questioned Miss Napolitano on the raids, said the laws need to be enforced but said raids, including Tuesday's, have swept up legal residents and citizens as well.


 


"There is concern that Americans have repeatedly, in the past years, been held in some cases for 10 and 11 hours against their will, and it does not seem to comport with the requirements of the law or the Constitution," she said, asking the secretary to address that issue in her review.


 


And this was Secretary Napolitano’s response:


 


She said she had been briefed on the raid, but still has many questions.


"I want to get to the bottom of this as well, so I've already issued those directives to ICE to get me some answers," she said.


                                   


 


We are relieved to hear that Secretary Napolitano has ordered a review of this raid as well as ICE’s enforcement priorities and resources. This is a good sign that she understands that large-scale sweeps in workplaces might not be the most efficient use of resources nor are consistent with President Obama’s promise of reforming the system,


 


White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said "these raids are not a long-term solution."



"Secretary Napolitano is conducting a thorough review of ICE, including enforcement," Mr. Shapiro said. "The president believes we must respect due process and our best values as we enforce the law. The real answer to our broken immigration system is to fix it. The president has said that we will start the immigration reform debate this year, and this continues to be the plan."


(Illegals raid dismays Obama backers, February 26, 2009)


 


We will not deport our way out of our immigration troubles, a common sense and sustainable approach needs to be used in order to render a long lasting solution that stregthens equal opportunity and the rule of law, and that treats hardworking immigrant families with respect and dignity.


 

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