FLAMING LIBERAL: Racism goes unseen

by Staff

In the midst of all this economic turmoil, it’s nice to see some things never change. Back in August, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) engaged in a short-lived program in which they assured people living in the U.S. without proper documentation they would be allowed to turn themselves in and in return, the government would cover the cost of their trip back home. Some stipulations existed, such as not being able to return to the U.S. for long periods of time, even legally.

This program proved to be a major failure in one sense: Only eight individuals nationwide took advantage of the offer, according to ICE.

If you look at the program from the perspective of it’s initial intentions, it was an opportunity for ICE to say they took measures to provide a humanitarian way of removing these people from our country. And now that these people did not take advantage of this nonsensical and unrealistic program, it’s time to crack the whip and ignore the justice and dignity all people deserve, begin inhumane sweeps and arrest these people by the hundreds.

After the well-publicized program’s PR campaign, ICE has just announced that they engaged in a three-week sweep in which they arrested more than 1,150 people in California. The sweep targeted people who were in violation of their deportation orders or who have returned to the country illegally after being deported. These raids were not well-publicized and most people don’t even know they took place; the media did not take much notice of it. Strategically, it’s the perfect time for ICE to reveal what they have been up to these past weeks 8212; we’re in the middle of an economic crisis and just weeks away from the most popularized presidential election of our time. Human rights violations of immigrants are low on the priority list.

And with the economy on a downward spiral, it is the perfect time for ICE to take advantage of the growing anti-immigration sentiment that will be arising from people who will need to find a scapegoat to blame for their economic misfortune. Immigrants, whether legal or illegal, have historically been sources of censure in times of economic strife.

During the Great Depression, many legal actions were taken against undocumented workers, such as the Alien Registration Act of 1940, which registered and fingerprinted approximately 5 million so called “aliens.”

It’s sad that so many actually think this program is a good way to deal with the issues that are affecting the “legal citizens” of this country. This round-em-up strategy is not going to work and while ICE may show us numbers of how many people they can forcibly remove from this country, it won’t be enough to provide a permanent solution. In a matter of weeks, they arrested 1,157 people, but no one is sure how many millions more are out there.

The anti-immigration leaders have done a good job of turning racism into patriotism, purporting that the immigrants who are here illegally are to blame for so many of the woes of society and the economy. The flaws in this program and the subsequent raid are just indicative of how unrealistic this pathetic attempt to find a pragmatic way of deporting all these people who are here without papers is.

There’s little logic in forcefully removing undocumented workers, barring them from re-entry, and then expecting everyone to not break any more laws and try to come back “the right way.” We’re in desperate need of comprehensive immigration reform.

With so much going on with the presidential elections and the economy, though, we’ll be hard-pressed to hear someone talk about this unpopular issue. We need more than just self-serving politicians who are not providing alternatives to help make a better America.

8212;Allan Acevedo is a political science and ISCOR sophomore.

8212;This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec. Send e-mail to letters@thedailyaztec.com. Anonymous letters will not be printed 8212; include your full name, major and year in school.

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