Thoughts on workplace raids

Sep 10 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

As a native child of a large American city with a large number of Hispanics, I'm certainly well aware of the concept of workplace raids.

Fortunately, this is a fear that most of us never have to worry about. Indeed, it causes me to wonder if other so-called industrialized nations send immigration officials and police to ransack private companies looking for illegal workers.

This recent article in the Progressive gives a pretty good idea of what these raids are like and those who are affected by them.

Whatever your views on illegal immigration Ė and quite frankly, I don't think you can be against illegal workers until you've been on the down and out and unable to get a break (by that definition, this would apply to many in the U.S.) Ė there is still a humanitarian aspect that can't be ignored. As far as the media is concerned, the issue focuses solely on security/war on terror issues and the nationality of those who are usually rounded up.

The other part of this dialog, which is severely missing, is what to do with these companies that flout the law and hire illegal workers (often knowingly) to exploit and maximize profits. Do they really believe that they're doing a good thing and performing some sort of social service by "taking a chance" on someone who legally doesn't get one? Or, are they focused on other priorities?

This leads us to the workplace raids - should immigration or law enforcement officials be able to ransack a private property without legal documentation to arrest or scare off undocumented workers. In most cases, these raids are usually focused on Spanish-speaking peoples or Chinese, but it could happen anywhere.

While you might not hear European immigrants in the US protest such actions, it might behoove us to think about what kind of society we wish to have, and what kind of workplace we wish to tolerate.

Look at the facts, workplace raids destroy families, cause economic distress and do not hamper other illegal immigrants from trying their luck. Perhaps it's time to have a cooling off period and head back to the drawing board for another solution.