#ICEFail: We Need Reform, Not Raids
It’s been widely noted that the Obama administration and congress plan to move on immigration reform “very soon” after re-inauguration. The welcomed news is understandably overshadowed by the reminder that the administration spends more on record breaking deportations than on any other federal criminal enforcement combined. Most recently this has been highlighted by the high profile raid on the home of undocumented youth activist and leader, Erika Andiola.
If the President, legislators, and the rest of the country is serious about a sensible and humane approach to to immigration, it must first take measures to halt the demonization and criminalization of immigrants. We are not criminals, but policy would have you believe so. And a lot of it has to do with nativist rhetoric that has established the framework for the debate. A rhetoric fixated on the “rule of law,” but ignores the construction of law. As sociologist Ruben G Rumbaut notes for a report by the Police Foundation,
The fact that many of [undocumented] immigrants enter the country through unauthorized channels or overstay their visas often is framed as an assault against the “rule of law,” thereby reinforcing the impression that immigration and criminality are linked.
Moreover, even as it’s difficult to study undocumented immigrant crime rates because many migrants are wary of disclosing information that may jeopardize their stay in the country, the fact is that before the uptick in deportation enforcement, at a time when immigration was at it’s height in the 90s and early 2000s, before 287(g), before Operation Streamline, before Secure Communities, foreign born incarceration and crimes rates were lower than those of native-born rates. Immigrants have become fastest growing prison population not because immigrants commit more crimes but because prison profiteers and nativist have an ear in legislative houses and, through agencies like ICE, also in the White House. The attack on our communities has no foundation, and it’s up to us expose the immigration enforcement fail.
It’s up to us to drive the narrative. Starting this week, Latino Rebels and Cuéntame will be using #ICEFail to share the real stories that are happening every day in America. If you want to share your story, you can tweet it to #ICEFail, @latinorebels or @mycuentame. You can also post your stories and tips to the Latino Rebels Facebook page or the Cuéntame Facebook page. We need reform, not more raids. Staying silent is no longer an option.