Many of the Latin American workers arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities at the exclusive Lansdowne Resort earlier this month have been released from custody, according to people who have spoken with several of those arrested.So what, exactly, did the raid accomplish? It cost taxpayer money to detain and process people. It cost Lansdowne Resort money in fines and lost work time. It cost our economy in lost wages and spending. It ginned up ire and bile in the community, exacerbating divisions between neighbors and neighborhoods. But other than these negative accomplishments, what good did it do?
Lisa Johnson-Firth is an attorney with Immigration and Human Rights Group LLC, representing five of the people detained on charges of possessing fraudulent immigration documents. She said April 18 that ICE released two of her clients and she was confident at least two more would be let go soon. Each, though, still faces deportation, she said. She also was told that other Lansdowne workers were released, many with “no bond” requirements placed upon them, but she did not know how many.
ICE did not respond to repeated requests for comment. - The Loudoun Times-Mirror
Laura Valle, an advocate for the local immigrant community, said she has been providing translation services to three of the workers released by ICE.The complete lack productive results from the Lansdowne ICE raid makes one question its purpose.
They told her all but five of the 59 people arrested at Lansdowne have been let go. Those still under arrest, she was told, had been previously deported from the United States and had re-entered. - The Loudoun Times-Mirror
The only thing that can be said about the raid is that it made people think that the government was "doing something" about undocumented migrants and the companies that employ them. It certainly gives the impression that ICE wants to be seen to be doing something without actually having to do something.
At one level this may be a marginal good thing, if it placates the anti-immigrant crowd and allows the rest of us to get on with our lives. But at another level, it is another data point in a frightening government trend: The Administration's Federal Government wants to be seen to be doing something rather than actually doing something. The Executive wants to be seen to be fixing New Orleans without actually having to fix New Orleans. The Treasury Department wants to be seen to be dealing with the mortgage crisis without actually dealing with the mortgage crisis. They want to be seen to be caring about the poor without actually doing anything to help the poor.
What we need is a government of actions, not appearances. If we're going to enforce immigration laws, then let's have a real debate about what is involved. Let's all talk about shifting resources from schools and libraries and spending our rainy day money to find and persecute an already-oppressed population. Let us evaluate the real costs and benefits of a full-enforcement policy.
Until we have that debate, and come to some kind of decision, let's step back from for-show raids that disrupt our lives and community, only to have the supposed "detainees" released a few days later. We already have an Attorney General in Virginia who likes to take credit where it isn't deserved, we don't need ICE doing it too.