Unidentified members of the Immigration Rights Coalition of Palm Beach County listen during a meeting Friday, April 28, 2006 at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) meeting in Lake Worth, Fla.
ASSociated Press: Raid Rumors Fuel Fear Among Immigrants
Thousands of illegal immigrants stayed home this week amid rumors of immigration roundups that federal officials say were unfounded, leaving some industries scrambling for workers.
Len Mills, executive vice president of Associated General Contractors of South Florida, estimated at least 50 percent of workers on construction jobs in the region had not shown up for work.
“This is costing millions of dollars a day, and I don’t know who is going to pay for it,” he said.
Rumors of random sweeps were rampant from coast to coast Friday, prompting many immigrants to stay home from work, take their children out of school and avoid church. Their absences added to immigrants’ fears, as some thought their friends and co-workers had been arrested.
Flap says BLEH to all of the employers of illegal aliens. It is about time that the feds crackdown on this illegal activity.
The Bush Administration needs to secure the southern border with Mexico and punish the employers who are using illegal aliens to profit from their cheap labor.
Construction and agriculture were among the industries most affected.
Katie A. Edwards, executive director of Florida’s Dade County Farm Bureau, said nearly a third of farmworkers did not come to the fields this week.
Mari Ramos, a Peruvian nanny whose tourist visa ran out in 2003, listened when friends warned her not to take public transportation or risk arrest.
“That’s when I became nervous. I stopped going to my night job,” the 36-year-old Miami woman said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Dean Boyd said the agency has received hundreds of calls about immigration raids in recent days. Such rumors are typical after a raid like the one last week in which more than 1,000 employees of pallet manufacturer IFCO were arrested at more than 40 company sites nationwide, he said.
“However, we don’t conduct random sweeps,” he said. “All our arrests are the result of investigations, evidence and intelligence.”
ICE officials acknowledged they have stepped up arrests under their “Operation Phoenix,” an existing program to find and deport fugitive illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds.
Maybe ICE should examine those employers who are closed down for business on Monday, May 1 for the demonstrations and then raid those businesses on Tuesday.
It is time for the President to get serious about enforcing our existing immigration laws.
It is time for the Congress to pass legislation to secure our southern border.
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