One day after an ordinance passed the Board of Alderman of New Haven, CT that would allow undocumented workers to get photo ID, open bank accounts, get library books, generally integrate themselves in to American society and culture, and avoid being targets for violent crime, ICE carried out a raid on undocumented workers in the Fair Haven, CT.
The raids were carried out early this morning with ICE agents bursting into homes looking for people with Final Orders of Removal. Many of those arrested were handcuffed and dragged out in front of their children and spouses.
I have received word from Fair Haven that the streets are deserted, businesses are closed, and the life of that section of the city has essentially ground to a halt.
Unbelievably, ICE spokespeople have claimed that these raids are carried out all the time and had no connection to the Municipal ID card legislation.
This story is developing now -
Fr. Jim Manship of St. Rose of Lima Church was at the Atwater house this morning speaking to people in the apartment where the raid took place. Manship said at least five people were taken in the raid on that one apartment. Manship was cruising Fair Haven in his white Ford Explorer keeping in contact with activists and immigrants, many of whom are associated with his church. He reported that at least five more adults -- four men, one woman -- were taken from one of two Peck Street addressed that the feds raided.
Manship accused the feds of "terrorizing" immigrant families as a substitute for a seriously attacking the challenge of immigration reform.
""Imagine someone busting into your house at 6 in the morning," he said. "It's kicking... folks who can't defend themselves. You drive them into the shadows. How's that better for anybody?"
"I'm angry. My anger is beyond words," Manship said. "People shouldn't live in fear. We should be able to figure out what we're doing about immigration on a national level without people worrying bout their safety."
This is this administration's family values in a nutshell - Constantly use the words when it is election time, but when push comes to shove, burst into houses in the early morning to break up families and destroy people's lives. And for what? To deport 29 people out of 12,000,000? Or to punish a municipality for doing more in 5 minutes than your administration has accomplished in 6 years?
Update: 3rd Update (by Gabe): New Haven Independent reports from the Mayor’s press conference:
As a nationwide immigration debate returns to New Haven’s door, Mayor John DeStefano lambasted the federal raids on undocumented residents Wednesday as a "symbolic act of intimidation" against the city in the wake of an immigrant-friendly ID plan.
Speaking late Wednesday afternoon in New Haven’s historic Wooster Square park, in the heart of the Italian-American sector of town, DeStefano defended the city’s role as a sanctuary city for immigrants. He recounted why he believes federal raids were an act of retribution against the city.
DeStefano, who’s taken the national spotlight as the immigration debate gets played out on local turf, rejected the claim by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office that the raids were a "routine" attempt to track down criminals.ICE made no attempt to work in collaboration with local police, DeStefano charged: The city was notified of the raids by a phone call to the police headquarters on the general 911 line at 7:20 a.m., an hour and a half after the raids had begun.
ICE agents were working to serve 20 outstanding fugitive warrants on specific individuals, according to city officials. Instead of asking local police’s help to track down those individuals, ICE "terrorized" the neighborhood, DeStefano charged.
In one home on Atwater street, ICE entered with no warrants, searched all the rooms of the house, and rounded up four men and one woman some children, according to the mayor. "They separated the men and the women, and even had the children on the floor."