Apr 24, 2006
On April 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detained nearly 1,200 workers in 26 states who worked for pallet maker IFCO for alleged immigration violations. They also arrested seven company managers, accusing them of conspiring to harbor “illegal” immigrants, charges that can carry long prison terms.
The timing for such a large-scale immigration raid was hardly an accident. Congress is set to once again take up immigration reform. The raids are meant to assure the Republican Party’s extreme right-wing base that so far has blocked all but the most repressive immigration laws.
At the same time, the Bush administration was sending a message to immigrants mobilizing to pressure Congress for legalization of undocumented immigrants that they better accept whatever rotten reform that Congress and the Bush administration settle on. That is, the Bush administration is threatening those who have been demonstrating that they better stop their mobilization after a new law is passed – or face much greater repression.
In other words, the raids are one more indication that whatever new immigration reforms are enacted will not be in the interests of the immigrant workers.