SEPTEMBER 16, 2008
Networks of activists, including students, union workers and other volunteers, are joining forces around the nation to help illegal immigrants skirt U.S. law by warning them of imminent federal raids in their area.
The organized networks are actively aiding lawbreakers avoid U.S. authorities on the heels of numerous workplace raids that have led to the arrest of thousands of illegal workers around the country. They do it by gathering advance information about federal enforcement operations and warning laborers so that they can prepare.
The informants from the so-called “immigration organizations” call in tips about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents checking into hotels or renting facilities and they look out for the sudden increase in out-of-town vehicles or activity at the local courthouse. Their goal is to disrupt future ICE raids by tipping off illegal immigrants and the employers who also violate the law by hiring them.
One well-known activist in Illinois says it’s not difficult to spot the feds since their “huge paramilitary operations” are hard to keep secret because they use special vehicles, helicopters and mobile homes for processing arestees. The federal agents also line up jail space, according to the activist who directs a well-known group dedicated to promoting the rights of all immigrants to full and equal participation.
Immigration officials point out that the activists’ efforts would better serve the public if they encouraged individuals to comply with the law rather than impede efforts to enforce it. One newspaper editorial sarcastically writes that this new approach to abet lawbreakers teaches children a fine lesson about America’s right to control its borders.
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