by marvin J Ramirez
Just recently, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding important issues affecting the welfare of children after their undocumented immigrants parents are arrested and removed from the country. She asked serious questions that hopefully will shed light on the frivolous actions recently executed by the U.S. Immigration, Custom and Enforcement, which are destroying families, unnecessarily.
Obviously, those in charge of commanding their officers to execute raids on immigrant communities in an effort to minimize their number of those who will benefit from a projected amnesty, either they have acted consciously in disregard of basic human rights of these children and entire working families or they have acted so in the absence of rules and regulations and policies to deal with these type of emergencies.
Although she doesn’t mention the raids in the city of Richmond in the East Bay, where the impact of these incursions have been most visible, Feinstein acknowledges that there have been several immigration raids throughout California, including cities in Southern California, and most recently in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, and Marin County. She claims to be troubled by the “reports that the ICE agents are not taking sufficient steps to ensure that the children of those persons detained have adequate care.”
She cites news reports detailing how toddlers have been stranded at day care centers and some children have been left without appropriate adult supervision for days.
In particular, she mentions one baby, who was breast-feeding, had to be hospitalized for dehydration
because her mother remained in detention.
Equally disturbing, she said, are reports from a local County Board Supervisor representing Marin County, California, that, in at least one case, a 7-year-old U.S. citizen child was swept up and detained.
Sen. Feinstein sent the following questions to the ICE:
- Could you please provide your policy on caring for children whose parents are detained and the steps your agency takes to ensure that children are provided appropriate care during the arrest and removal process, as well as after the removal if the child is a U.S. citizen?
- How can family members, including children, determine the whereabouts of their parents or other individuals who are detained?
- What is your policy on visitation or other contact with family members of a detained person?
Sen. Feinstein, it is our opinion that now that you are finally aware of these injustices committed by our immigration department, you should understand the clamor of millions of immigrants – documented and undocumented – who marched last year’s May 1st, to denounce these raids.
And this same people, who are organizing another massive march this May 1st, have been asking members of Congress as yourself, to stop these raids while Congress is reviewing the immigration bill aimed at passing a comprehensive immigration bill by August 2007. I believe this would be a more effective way to solve the problem.
People don’t object that immigrants who engage in criminal actions in the country be deported, but to destroy the lives of those honest people whose only crime was to cross the border to grab a job to feed their families – many of their kids U.S. citizens – is a crime against humanity done under the color of authority.
Senator, I believe you could and should do more than just asking these questions. You should ask Congress to temporarily halt all arrests of non-criminal immigrants until a reform bill is passed. That will show that you really care about human rights and immigrants.