[Reports of raids on suspected undocumented immigrants in the dark of night remind me of nothing more than the comparable late night raids on welfare families thru the 1960s to catch a “man in the house” which was grounds for denying welfare on the assumption that he could and should be a bread winner.  The problem in those days as today was that many men could not find employment, so many a husband and father was driven into the streets and away from his family.  I worked for a year with the latter while a student at Union Theological Seminary and so have a graphic sense of the damage being done to African American and Latino families then.

More recently I set up a team at my college, a port of entry one, to assist new immigrants with the naturalization process.  A grand day of celebration periodically was when hundreds would be officially signed in as citizens in one of our college auditoriums — a day of great happiness for all.  However, I also learned how complex the rules of this game were.  We had little kids jumping for joy because they were automatically found to be citizens by luck of their relatives even though they had been born elsewhere.  Refugees were arbitrarily welcomed — Cubans come in, Haitians stay out.   I understand now that the system of naturalization is in disarray with long delays in processing applications.  People who are citizens, but who were not born in hospitals and, thus, did not acquire an official birth certificate, may be threatened with deportation to countries that they have never known.
A brilliant colleague who is perhaps the leading person globally in her field was nearly dispatched from teaching with us by glitches in the system.

In short, the immigration and naturalization system, as so many other governmental agencies under the Bush administration, is broken.  It is time for change — and to get Lou Dobbs permanently put under parental controls.  Ed Kent]

………………………………

From: NJLatinoIssues@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NJLatinoIssues@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of GUILLO@aol.com

Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 9:01 AM

Subject: [NJLatinoIssues] Immigration officials say raids on illegals are within the law

Immigration officials say raids on illegals are within the law

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

By ELIZABETH LLORENTE

STAFF WRITER – Staff Writer Elizabeth Llorente is a 2007 Peter Jennings Fellow. The Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution was inaugurated in 2007 and is hosted by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and funded by the Annenberg Foundation and the Knight Foundation. In 2007, 30 journalists were selected to attend a workshop on the U.S. Constitution — a longtime fascination of the late ABC News anchor, who was born in Canada — and to produce work examining constitutional issues.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arresting an illegal immigrant. Lawyers say agents are conducting raids that violate the Constitution.

FILE PHOTO

arrow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arresting an illegal immigrant. Lawyers say agents are conducting raids that violate the Constitution.

The federal government is increasingly deceiving unsuspecting illegal immigrants into granting entry to their homes, a growing chorus of lawyers and civil rights groups say.

They charge that in an overzealous effort to deport illegal immigrants, federal immigration agents forgo required search warrants, instead using ruses and intimidation to gain consent to enter and search private dwellings. In interviews with The Record and in a growing number of lawsuits, immigrants and critics of the raids say that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is violating the U.S. Constitution.

“They’re armed agents showing up at 5 a.m., banging on doors, kicking them in, going into people’s bedrooms, ripping covers off people in their beds, asking them questions when they’re half asleep, and seizing them and taking them away,” said Patrick Gennardo of Englewood, one of several area attorneys who have filed suits recently asking that such ICE practices be found unconstitutional. “These aren’t fine lines between consent and storming in; these are scary, major violations of the Constitution.”

But Scott Weber, field director for ICE’s office in Newark, takes exception to those claims.

“We all operate under the same Constitution,” Weber said. “My officers are not involved in sweeps or random searches. We’re looking for specific individuals that we have specific information for and active and valid warrants for their removal [from the U.S.] Our officers have extensive training in which they’re taught constitutional law, statutory law and immigration law.”

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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