FEBRUARY 25, 2011
Federal authorities are being accused of “overt racial profiling” for conducting aMississippi raid that collared dozens of illegal immigrants with violent criminal records, gang affiliations and deportation orders.The four-day raid in the greater Jackson area was part of a Homeland Security plan to arrest illegal alien fugitives wanted for drug crimes, sexual assault, drunk driving and other violent offenses. Known as surge operations, the raids have effectivelyreduced street crime in communities throughout the United States, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who oversees them. Last year ICE removed more than 392,800 aliens from the United States and more than half had criminal convictions.In this particular case the operation netted 58 illegal immigrants wanted for violent and sex-related crimes as well as drug trafficking. Nearly a dozen of the fugitives had violated deportation orders from U.S. courts. Not surprisingly, the majority (40) of those arrested are from Mexico and the rest from Guatemala, Honduras, Panama,El Salvador, Peru and Costa Rica.Immigration advocates were quick to label the operation racist and the director of a group (Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance) dedicated to defending illegal aliens called a press conference to say “what’s taking place is overt racial profiling.” The nonprofit is well known in the state and has led efforts to rally against “racist, anti-Hispanic” measures to curb illegal immigration. The group calls it a “fight for social justice.”At its press conference this week residents who saw their relatives hauled away by the feds joined the race bandwagon with one woman actually comparing immigration enforcement to the institutionalized discrimination and injustices against blacks decades ago. “We just want to be treated as humans, not trash,” she said after drawing the parallels.Another woman, whose husband will be deported to Mexico, demanded sympathy because she has to raise her three children by herself. She said ICE agents should be required to live in Mexico a few months so they could see firsthand what it’s like, suggesting that it would deter them from deporting illegal immigrants.Mississippi has been on ICE’s radar since 600 illegal immigrants got arrested in the nation’s largest workplace raid a few years ago. Most were deported and some got convicted of identity theft for using fraudulent documents to work at the Laurelelectrical transformer plant where they got busted. Incidentally, the company (Howard Industries) that owns the facility pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to violate immigration laws and will pay a $2.5 million fine.
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