Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rounding Up The Usual Immigrants

Rounding Up The Usual Immigrants
Roberto Lovato December 19, 2006

Last week's controversial immigration raids at Swift & Company meatpacking plants in six states, which federal officials have characterized as the largest sweep of its kind in U.S. history, should send waves of fear among citizens and non-citizens alike. The very high profile arrest and detention of almost 1,300 workers marks a major move to further erode all of our rights.

Merely viewing "Operation Wagon Train" as another in the lengthening line of dehumanizing and brutal attacks on immigrant and labor rights-as most analysts do-falls short. That's because in the so-called War on Terror immigration and immigrants have become the justification of choice in the ongoing erosion of labor, privacy and other rights under the Bush administration.

For example, a statement about the status of the Swift workers by John Bowen, the attorney representing the workers on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, was indistinguishable from those of attorneys representing detainees in Guantanamo or in secret CIA facilities. "We don't know where they are and we don't know what's happening," he said. "We don't know if they are being pressured to do something or not. We can't provide them or their families with information until we know where they are."

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