Immigration raid leads to protest

June 28, 2008 5:07:30 PM PDT
More than 150 illegal immigrants were taken into custody during a raid at a clothing company this week in northeast Houston. On Saturday, people protested what they call roundups. They want government policies to change when it comes to illegal immigration.

The show of solidarity was outside the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. More than two dozen activists were protesting what they call the human costs to Wednesday's raid of a used clothing business. More than 200 agents took about 160 people, mostly women, into custody.

"The story that never gets told once these things happen is the aftermath, the consequences, the suffering of the families," said protestor Maria Jinenez.

The protestors say there is a fine line between enforcing illegal immigration in this country and the operation immigration authorities conducted in east Houston Wednesday morning.

"They are here trying to survive and support their families," said David Atwood, who was at the demonstration. "For those type of people to be rounded up and treated like common criminals, I think is just the wrong approach."

While they've heard the call for action, those who support U.S. policy are standing their ground. Louise Whiteford with Texans for Immigration Reform says, "As tough as it may sound, they knew they were breaking the law when they came here. We can't bring everyone who is living in poverty to this country. It will bankrupt us. We're developing a huge underclass that will remain there. We can't afford to take care of them."

"We can begin changing some of the policies that force people to leave their homes and risk their lives to come here," said Anieri Shakur, who was at Saturday's demonstration.

That's the one point people on both sides of this issue can agree on.

We contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, about the raids. They gave us this statement: "ICE takes every potential humanitarian concern into consideration when conducting these types of operations. Anyone who was released will have the opportunity to appear before a federal immigration judge at a later date"

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