NATIONAL COMMISSION CONDEMNS WORKPLACE IMMIGRATION RAIDS
REPORT FINDS RAIDS WERE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE, UNLAWFUL AND INEFFECTIVE
WASHINGTON – A National Commission investigating immigration enforcement under the Bush Administration released a comprehensive new report documenting the devastation and destruction that immigration raids had on families, workplaces and communities across the country.
The report, Raids on Workers: Destroying Our Rights, offers a critical analysis of one of the central components of the Bush Administration’s immigration strategy and provides a detailed account of how heavy handed enforcement tactics led to systemic abuse of workers’ rights and a willful disregard for the rule of law.
“This commission was formed to examine allegations of abuse and misconduct by ICE agents during the course of immigration raids,” said Joseph T. Hansen, founding chairman of the commission and president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). “What we have uncovered is that during the Bush Administration ICE agents repeatedly trampled on innocent workers’ constitutional rights. These were not isolated incidents, but systemic problems that occurred in almost every region of the country. No government agency is above the law, and no worker should have to face the mistreatment and misconduct that these hardworking men and women were subjected to under the Bush Administration.”
The Commission, which is made up of former elected officials, labor leaders, academics, civil rights leaders and immigration and legal experts, spent more than a year holding regional hearings, interviewing witnesses and soliciting input from a wide range of workers, elected officials, policy experts, psychologists, and religious and community leaders.
The result is the most expansive analysis of the Bush Administration’s use of workplace raids and its total failure to address the wider problems of our nation’s broken immigration system.
Upon its creation, the commissioners set out to achieve the following objectives:
At each hearing, clear patterns began to emerge regarding the tactics used by ICE agents and how the procedures used by these officials were compromising the rights of workers.
The testimony the Commission received revealed several disturbing patterns:
In addition to examining the impact of the raids, the Commission’s report lays out a clear path to a sensible, legal, and effective immigration enforcement policy that is consistent with the following objectives:
The Commission report also emphasized the need for passage of meaningful comprehensive immigration reform legislation – and concluded that piecemeal immigration proposals would never solve the underlying issues. The report lays out a series of elements that should be included in immigration reform legislation, including a path to earned legalization, family unification and stronger sanctions of employers that break the law.
“This report was written to ensure that there is an historical account of the Bush administration’s actions, so that former government officials cannot whitewash history,” added Hansen. “It also represents an opportunity to start a national discussion about immigration, worker rights and our core values as a nation. We hope to use this report – and its recommendations – to jumpstart a new dialogue with Congress and with the American public—about an immigration system that works for America’s workers.”>>> Click here to listen to the release