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President Obama and Janet Napolitano Need to Stop Raids

Jill Garvey • Feb 26, 2009

The first workplace raid of the Obama Administration’s Presidency occurred on Tuesday in Bellingham, Washington. 28 workers were detained when ICE agents in full riot gear stormed Yamato Engine Specialists manufacturing plant with buckets of handcuffs and ankle shackles.

The Bush Administration’s enforcement-only approach to immigration and routine work-site raids generated widespread abuse, civil rights violations, and emotional stress for parents and children separated from one another. President Obama promised to address immigration reform during his campaign, and now is the time for him to make good on that promise.

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and Obama’s team have already begun a review of enforcement procedures, but this step forward is not enough. The Obama team needs to stop all workplace raids until a thorough examination of enforcement activities is performed.

Continuing to conduct work-site raids only further damages a nation in financial crisis. Worksite raids are costly, ineffective, and tear at the fabric of communities already besieged by poor economic conditions. Addressing immigration reform will help American companies and workers get back on their feet.

Call the White House at 202-456-1414 and tell President Obama:

-Business as usual at ICE is not “change we can believe in.”

-Now more than ever, a top-to-bottom review of ICE priorities and its enforcement operations is needed.

-At a minimum, please halt these types of enforcement actions until the new ICE Director has an oversight strategy in place.

-Just last week, you promised listeners in Los Angeles that you are committed to fixing the broken immigration system through comprehensive immigration reform. The President can’t say one thing and do another.

-Latino and immigrant voters turned out in massive numbers to vote for change, and we will be watching very closely how this incident is handled.

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