This past week, the Immigration Bureau of Customs Enforcement http://www.ice.gov/ conducted two raids of residential buildings in Mount Kisco, New York, apparently for the purpose of apprehending a fugitive who has multiple criminal convictions and is in the United States illegally.
These raids were performed in the early morning hours with the assistance of the Mount Kisco Police Department. The fugitive was not apprehended, but approximately twenty men were arrested and taken to a Manhattan ICE facility, charged with immigration law violations. Of the approximately 20 men arrested this past week, 11 were taken to an ICE detention facility in New Jersey and have been placed in removal (formerly known as deportation) proceedings. The others had green cards or other documentation that kept them from being detained.
Recent raids at day laborer sites in Connecticut and in New Bedford, Massachusetts have drawn media attention in recent weeks. The arrests at work sites and residences have led to a “Stop The Raids” campaign in Connecticut. Although ICE officials claim that they were looking for a sole fugitive in New York, questions have arisen due to the amount of officers and vans involved in the two operations.
The detained workers, most of them otherwise law abiding, who provide cheap labor for industries, employers and local residents, will now have to negotiate immigration laws which for many of them will inevitably lead to extensive detention and ultimate removal from the United States. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any clear consensus in either house of Congress as to resolution of the immigration issue. Early optimism after the Democratic takeover of Congress this past November for an Immigration bill which would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to adjust their status in the United States through a combination of education requirements, fines, and payment of back taxes now seems to be hopelessly stalled.
Previous proponents of immigration reform such as Senator John McCain are now backing off of their support due to presidential aspirations and objections from their constituents.