As alarming as the dragnet tactics of ICE might be, and as heartbreaking as the disruption to immigrant families, none of this should be a surprise to Zoë Carpenter [“ICE’s Widening Net,” Sept. 22], or anyone. So long as neighboring countries with insufficient resources encourage birth rates higher than they can sustain and provide a level of education inadequate to change the situation, there will be desperate people pouring over the borders. Accompanying them will be the predictable, often politically motivated reactions of individuals and government agencies, many of which reflect shamefully on civil society and its members.
If progressives want to do anything about any of this, they need to direct their energies to identifying and resolving the root causes of this tragedy rather than decrying the symptoms of a problem that has been largely ignored for decades.
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The Bush administration, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, suspended enforcement of immigration laws in the affected areas to encourage immigrants to work on rebuilding New Orleans. In other words, they were invited here. Now they are being kicked out. It’s the immigrant bait and switch: we take their labor at cut rates, and then get angry when they want to stay.
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Zoë Carpenter wrote: “By the winter of 2012, authorities in Louisiana were arresting more people for immigration violations per capita than any other state except the three that border Mexico.” Four states border Mexico. Overall, however, a fine (if disturbing) article.
It should have read “…except for three states that border Mexico.” —Ed.
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Thank you for your interesting articles by Zoë Carpenter and Adam Goodman [“A Long Series of Uncertainties”]. I’d like to add my story. I was asked by a church group to go to the Adelanto Detention Facility to “get stories” from the inmates—“they need someone to talk with.” Most of the detainees were from Latin America, but mine were Africans seeking political asylum. One, Sulaiman, had left Sierra Leone in 1999 when his family was scattered by war and never found. At 14, he walked to Guinea, found work and slowly saved money. Nine years later, he flew to Ecuador and began working his way north. About five years later, he asked for asylum at the US border. Conditions were bad. He was shackled. The diet was insufficient (1,200 calories a day).