The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Phoenix:
Major Immigration Raid on Car Washes

Sep 16, 2013

On August 17, the Obama Administration’s ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raided 16 Danny’s Family Wash locations in Phoenix, Arizona. It arrested 14 managers and supervisors, charging them with fraud and identity theft for hiring undocumented workers. And it started proceedings to take over the car washes owned by Danny Hendon, a former Detroit cop.

The Obama Administration says this is the result of its policy targeting only scummy employers who violate the immigration laws. Undoubtedly Hendon is such an employer. But he and his managers are not the only ones harmed by the raid. ICE held 223 workers for a period while it questioned them, and then detained 30 of them for longer because they had criminal records.

As the National Day Laborer Organizing Committee said of the raid, “Yesterday’s operation spread chaos, confusion and fear throughout the Phoenix area as family members went temporarily missing and word spread of ski-masked agents detaining car wash customers alongside workers across the city.”

Some of the detained workers had been deported for crossing the nearby border to visit their families. As far as the so-called “criminal” background of others, Phoenix is the city where Joe Arpaio is the notorious sheriff. For years, he targeted Mexican workers, rounded them up, and then issued spurious charges against them, giving them a so-called “criminal record.”

The Obama Justice Department sued Arpaio for discrimination against Latinos in 2012, before the presidential election, in an attempt to earn the votes of Latinos. But the use of “criminal records” he contrived shows that the Obama Administration walks in Arpaio’s footpath.

Workers who come to this country to work and support their families need full legal rights.