On Tuesday December 12, Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted "Operation Wagon Train" an immigration raid that shut down six Swift Meatpacking facilities in six different states. If you want to get a good perspective on how these heavy handed raids affect communities there is a great set of articles at the Grand Island Independent about the impact on one small community (registration required).
There was, however, one thing about this raid that stood out for me.
We live in a time where immigration, immigrants and migrants are pawns in a political campaign. A propaganda campaign has been so successful that I hear many people saying that we need a "solution" to the "immigration problem" but when asked, are unable to tell you what exactly the "problem" is.
America Be Scared! We are coming for the jobs you don't want to do! We are coming to work for you!
Here in Texas we have city councils like the ones in Friendswood trying to make English the "official" language of the city, and Farmer's Branch where they want to take it a step further and make their city into a Sundown Town.
In Grand Island, Nebraska, something happened that was a little different. A police chief refused to participate in the raid:
In Nebraska, Grand Island police refused to be part of the raid at the plant in that city. Police Chief Steve Lamken said he met with ICE Iimmigration and Customs Enforcment) officials on Tuesday morning and told them his department would not be involved.
"When this is all over, we're still here taking care of our community and if I have a significant part of my population that's fearful and won't call us, then that's not good for our community," he said.
How about that. A police chief who puts the needs of his community ahead of politics. A police chief who understands that it is in nobody's interest to have innocent people living in fear of police and afraid to call the police when they are in danger. A police chief who understands that even if people are here illegally they are still human beings and deserve to be treated as such.
The only sad thing here is that Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken is the exception and not the rule.