UPDATE: Bellingham ICE Raids

By Hatty Lee Feb 25, 2009

Napolitano orders review of Bellingham raid Within 24 hours, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security announced a full review of the Bellingham raid. In her statement, she told lawmakers that she did not know about the raid before it happened. She has asked ICE for answers and said, “I want to get to the bottom of this as well.” According to the Washington Times:

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said "Secretary Napolitano is conducting a thorough review of ICE, including enforcement. The president believes we must respect due process and our best values as we enforce the law. The real answer to our broken immigration system is to fix it. The president has said that we will start the immigration reform debate this year, and this continues to be the plan."

Together with immigration advocates and the Obama administration, it seems as though we are headed toward change. ******************** Yesterday, 28 employees were arrested when over 70 ICE agents forcibly raided Yamato Engine Specialists in Bellingham, Washington. The first workplace raid under the Obama administration. Like many others, I have great hopes for the new administration (and on a side note, am quite fond of Michelle O. as well). But the fact that such a sizeable workplace raid happened just yesterday smothers a bit of that hope. Yes, it is a time of economic crisis. Yes, healthcare, energy and education are all very important to me as well. But so is stopping the raids and creating a new framework for addressing immigration. In these times of economic hardship, detaining hardworking men and women and dividing families is just perpetuating more fear in our communities. We need to bring the people together not push them further apart. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for a president who won’t walk away from comprehensive immigration reform when it becomes politically unpopular.” President Obama’s words from Sept. 2008. Maybe he needs to be reminded of these words. What we can do: • The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) asks the president to stop raids • The Campaign for Community Change asks us to call President Obama