Government targets immigrants as Minutemen fall apart

I was disgusted when the federal government staged anti-immigrant raids last December, just before Christmas, rounding up undocumented workers and sending them back to their countries of origin. Since that action, there have been dozens more raids, and today’s Times illustrates the full scope of these activities.

According to the Times, “Last month, agents raided eateries nationwide such as the House of Blues and the Hard Rock Cafe, filing criminal charges against three officials of a janitorial contractor and arresting nearly 200 illegal immigrants, including 50 in Southern California.”

The government is calling their operation “Return to Sender.” There must be an Elvis fan involved! They ought to call it “Destroy Families.”

Is there a better way to handle our immigration problems? The Times offered one: “Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said that comprehensive immigration reform, not more raids, is the long-term solution.”

Salas is right. Rounding people up and separating them from their families is divisive and ruinous to these people. Many of them have American children. Is the government worried at all about them? I doubt it. A better way would be to offer green cards to folks who are working here and have stayed out of criminal trouble for the past five years. Fine them $2,000, payable in payments, which ought to help pay for this program. And make them ineligible for citizenship – forever. That too would be a way to hold them accountable for coming here illegally.

The Times article I referenced article also mentioned some good news, in that “A network of legal aid and nonprofit groups is handing out information packets, holding town hall meetings and producing a DVD to prepare illegal immigrants for future sweeps.”

“The outreach is part of a broader effort by organizations such as the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, American Immigration Lawyers Assn. and other organizations seeking reforms.”

Ironically, the Minutemen are falling apart even as the U.S. government steps up their official anti-immigrant efforts. The Times reported earlier this month that Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist is at odds with his organization. They have accused him of stealing money from them. According to the Times, “more than $400,000 of the organization’s money was unaccounted for.” The matter will be settled in court.

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.