Friday, March 09, 2007

Homeland Security: Tearing Nursing Babies From Their Mothers' Arms

An employee cries outside the Michael Bianco Inc. textiles plant in New Bedford, Mass., Tuesday, March 6, 2007. About two thirds of the company's 500 employees were detained by immigration officials on suspicion of being in the U.S. illegally. The sweep caused chaos which saw some workers try to flee, only to be turned back by the bitter cold, said Bruce Foucart, Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge. (AP Photo/Peter Pereira-The New Bedford Standard Times)

Yesterday Homeland Security arrested allegedly illegal immigrant workers (mostly women) in New Bedford, Mass. and, presuming them guilty, shipped dozens of them to Texas, without any apparent thought to what would happen to their children. Two nursing babies were hospitalized for dehydration. Babies! What is wrong with these zealots?

[Massachusetts Governor] Patrick, at a press conference, and later in a private conference call with Homeland Security officials, protested the decision to fly 90 of the detained workers from Massachusetts to Harlingen, Texas, before state social workers had a chance to inquire about their child-care needs, potentially leaving many children with inadequate care. Two young children were hospitalized yesterday for dehydration after their nursing mothers were taken away, state officials said. Another 7-year-old girl called a state hot line seeking her detained mother. It was unclear last night where their mothers were.

Of course, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of DHS, which carried out the raids, is led by the unqualified, crony appointee, Julie Myers, who is both daughter of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers, and wife of the chief of staff for Homeland Security's criminally incompetent Michael Chertoff. Nice work, Heckuva-Jobbers.

What do you think happened to the owners, who were breaking the law by employing illegal immigrants, creating fraudulent documents for those workers, making profits, and defrauding the federal government which had contracted with them to make vests for soldiers? You got it if you guessed they were charged, made bail, and released to spend the night at home in the comfy houses with their families.

"HAS ANYONE seen my wife? She left for work yesterday and never came home. Our newborn baby is hungry and crying. Can someone please help?" asks a young father in the basement of a crowded church, one clear voice above the din of the hundreds gathered. The fear is palpable in the young man's eyes. He implores the listener to offer solace, hope, and encouragement.


On Tuesday, more than 500 armed homeland security officers descended upon Michael Blanco Inc. The owner of the factory, and a few of his senior staff, were arrested for hiring undocumented workers and creating false documents. They were out on bail and home with their families that night.

Approximately 350 employees, mostly mothers with young children, were swept up in the raid, shackled together in groups of three by their wrists and ankles and marched to buses bound for Fort Devens, 100 miles away. Without any legal representation or due process, these workers were asked for their immigration documentation and encouraged by immigration officers to choose voluntary deportation regardless of whether an immigration application was in process.

No comments: