ICE raids must be stopped

Giselle Suazo

“It’s time for a president who won’t walk away from comprehensive [immigration] reform just because it becomes politically unpopular,” said Obama in 2008 as he spoke to the National Council of La Raza at their annual conference in San Diego. This message resonated across our nation of immigrants and gave people hope that a president would finally begin the long battle to fix our immigration system. However, despite Obama’s many reforms of immigration policy, his administration still has a reckless policy that allows officials to abuse the rights of undocumented immigrants. 

The Department of Homeland Security began a series of Immigration Customs Enforcement raids in January that intended to remove immigrants who skipped their court appearances or had a criminal background. While I agree that the sanctions on those with criminal backgrounds is legitimate, the crackdown on those who miss their court dates is more opaque. The courts hold ultimate control over immigrants’ status and are not set up to give these immigrants much control of their own fate. 

The raids targeted areas that reported the highest number of immigrants with warrants for their removal or arrest, including places of work or homes. Texas is among the states where ICE agents detained the most people. 

Although the raids intended to do justice, their overly zealous approach violated the dignity of those that were subject to their unjust intrusion. Reports shed light on how the ICE agents conducted their raids. These agents acted on tips that led them to detain many immigrants that did not have a criminal background or did not skip out on a court appearance. What is worse, the agents took advantage of the fact that most immigrants do not speak English as their first language and often entered homes without a warrant.  

The raids are the result of Obama over-reacting to a spike in the influx of immigrants to the United States. But to send agents into local communities to arrest vulnerable families, including women and children, is something you would expect from a Donald Trump, not Obama. 

To deport immigrants back to places where their lives will be threatened by unimaginable violence, like El Salvador and Honduras, is morally repugnant.

These raids need to be scrapped immediately, as they ultimately result in the destruction of families that are being sent back to places where their lives are threatened every day. In the face of this injustice, Obama, and our next president, must demonstrate stronger leadership. We must insist that our government resorts to more comprehensive and humane means than ICE raids to fix our immigration problem. For now, immigrants need to be provided with a safe place, not threatened by sweeps and roundups that tear apart their families. 

Suazo is an international relations and global studies junior from Honduras. Follow her on Twitter @giselle_suazo.