This article ran in the Stockton Record today. I do NOT agree with Ms. Salinas.
If you are here illegally you are breaking the law. If you do not have proper documentation with you you are breaking the law. If you are working using someone elses identity or social security number you are breaking the law. Bottom line. They are the ones "leaving their children behind" when they choose to break the law. I encourage you to email Ms. Salinas with your thougths her address is at the bottom of the article.
These children getting left behind
By Maria Elena Salinas
March 30, 2007 6:00 AM
During President Bush's recent trip to Latin America, part of his mission was to convey the message that the United States is a compassionate country.
There is nothing compassionate about the way immigrants, mostly from Latin America, are being treated by immigration authorities.
The latest wave of immigration raids across the country has caused havoc and indignation among immigrants and those who defend their rights.
Workers suspected of being in the country illegally are being targeted in their homes and workplaces by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who show up unannounced, round them up and put them in detention centers on their way to deportation.
As a result of these inhumane raids, hundreds of children are being separated from their parents - in many instances, left alone without a guardian to protect them.
Since operation Return to Sender started, 13,000 immigrants have been detained.
One of the most dramatic cases was the raid in a New Bedford, Mass., leather-goods factory - that makes, among other things, vests and backpacks for the military - in early March, where some 360 workers were detained.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents entered the premises, according to witnesses, with guns and dogs.
Most of the detainees were women from Central America, many single moms. They weren't given an opportunity to make arrangements for care of their children, and 140 kids were left behind in schools, day-care centers or with neighbors unprepared to support them.
A 7-month-old breast-feeding infant ended up in the hospital for dehydration because he refused to drink the formula given to him while his mother was in custody for two nights.
Some immigration advocates and local social services agents have expressed their outrage at the way the raids are being handled.
There is even a list of recommendations circulating in a letter on the Internet that alerts immigrant workers to be prepared in the event that they become targets of indiscriminate raids.
Among other things, it warns of the importance of carrying some type of valid identification in the workplace.
"If small children are left with a caretaker," the letter states, "make sure they have your contact information and that of a close family member in case of an unfortunate incident.
"If you are the victim of or know of a compatriot that is being rounded up in an immigration raid, contact the nearest consulate, church or community center."
Federal government officials defend their right to conduct raids, claiming they're going after criminals and those who have been under order of deportation.
That's just not true. Most of the workers in the New Bedford factory didn't fall under that category.
As it turns out, they actually were victims of exploitation by the management of Michael Bianco Inc., which recruited them for cheap labor, made them pay high prices for their jobs and fined them for talking on the job or taking too long in the bathroom.
Some of the immigrants detained in that raid have been released for "humanitarian" considerations, although many of those families still are separated.
Immigration officials argue that being a single parent or the main breadwinner for a family doesn't protect an immigrant from deportation.
It's about time that our broken immigration system begins to consider how to protect the rights of the children of immigrants, including some 3 million born in the U.S. who have at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant.
No child should be left behind.
Salinas hosts "Noticieros Univision." Her e-mail address is www.mariaesalinas.com.