I’ve been following with interest the story of the raid at Michael Bianco, Inc. As you may recall, Michael Bianco, Inc., provides backpacks and survival vests to the military in a multimillion dollar contract and in order to meet this contract, they employee illegal immigrants and put them in deplorable conditions, only to see their business raided and the immigrants rounded up and sent off to detention camps in Texas, while their small U.S. citizen children were left behind.
Much about this story sucks. It sucks that people are working in deplorable and dangerous conditions so that others can grow wealthy off of government contracts. It sucks that their immigration status makes them vulnerable to exploitation. But what I cannot get past, what makes me so angry I about can’t see straight, is that we’re willing, as a country, to have this fight about undocumented workers in such a way that young U.S. citizens are hurt.
We saw this with Claudia Nunez–her being here illegally is such a “problem” that, if her family is torn apart or if her two kids (U.S. citizens) have to go with her to a place she doesn’t think it’s safe for them to be, well tough shit. And here we see it again, U.S. citizens deprived of their parents by the U.S. government. It doesn’t matter that these U.S. citizens are still being breast-fed or that they expect that their parents will be there at dinner time or that the Feds came swooping in and absconded with their parents without making any real provisions for them–if that’s the price of fighting illegal immigration, it seems that some folks find it worth it.
I find it disgusting. These are children and they’re U.S. citizens. If we cannot find some compassionate means of dealing with undocumented workers, we’re basically sanctioning the suffering of our own people, because, no matter what you think of their parents, these children are U.S. citizens–they are our people.
And we owe them better than that.
You know, I was reading up on this over at Pandagon, where Sheelzebub was talking about what a mess the immigration process is, how it’s really set up to deter legal immigration instead of facilitate it. And I was watching this video over at the Women of Color Blog, and I feel really angry and embarrassed. I’m angry that people who just want to work and provide for their families are somehow our “enemies” and I’m embarrassed to hear how the Feds were treating these folks.
These people were being exploited by their employer and the Feds are congratulating each other about capturing them? That’s what passes for bravery? Arresting and detaining hard-working moms? Stripping kids of their parents?