The sounds of anti-immigrant jackboots can be heard in different parts of the land. In Long Island, immigration cops kick in doors and arrest 186 Hispanics. Ostensibly to look for gang members, the raids also nabbed American citizens who were forced to defend the authenticity of their citizenship papers. One woman, who is a legal resident, said that "having people burst into her home and breaking doors reminded her of when she lived in El Salvador. 'There, it's the Death Squads and here it's immigration', she said."
Earlier this year, immigration cops arrested and deported 1,297 workers at meat processing plants who were here illegally.
In Los Angeles, again partially to nab gang members, 1,327 were arrested in the largest raids of its kind, and 600 of them have already been deported.
Workers and long-term residents are being lumped in with gang members, herded off to jail, and imprisoned while they await deportation.
When a state rounds up people in mass sweeps, the innocent and "guilty" alike, it has moved closer to statism. I am not Hispanic, so the day when I have to defend my right to be here to a skeptical, orders-following immigration cop who questions the authenticity of the documents I am compelled to show him, is further away. But how much further? And what will it be like to live in a country where fellow residents, Hispanic or not, are rounded up in raids to be processed for deportation, or simply humiliated for living here?
The rights of immigrants to live in this country is parcel of the individual human right to life that all of us possesses, whether we are immigrants ourselves or merely the son or daughter or descendant further removed of immigrants. When we violate the rights of immigrants to live here peaceably who have committed no crimes other than to violate the unjust laws against immigration, we are cutting away at the right to be left alone that all of us possesses. We are empowering the state to become ever more the police state.
Respecting an immigrant's right to live here is respecting our own right to life.
Friday, October 05, 2007