Earlier this week, the Cardozo School of Law's Immigrant Justice Center released a study examining the effects of SWAT-style immigration raids that have been used with an increasingly heavy hand by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in recent years. (You can read the study here [PDF].)
Chief among its findings:
Analysis of these records, together with other publicly available documents, reveals an established pattern of misconduct by ICE agents in the New York and New Jersey Field Offices. Further, the evidence suggests that such pattern may be a widespread national phenomenon reaching beyond these local offices. The pattern of misconduct involves:
• ICE agents illegally entering homes without legal authority – for example, physically pushing or breaking their way into private residences.
• ICE agents illegally seizing non-target individuals during home raid operations – for example, seizing innocent people in their bedrooms without any basis.
• ICE agents illegally searching homes without legal authority – for example, breaking down locked doors inside homes.
• ICE agents illegally seizing individuals based solely on racial or ethnic appearance or on limited English proficiency.
This is behavior straight out of 1984 or Brazil. It should make Americans -- especially those demanding we "round up the illegals" and deport them -- wonder what kind of country we're becoming.
As Jackie Mahendra at America's Voice observes, many of these raids are ostensibly after "high value" targets but usually succeed in rounding up lesser violators:
Despite this purported focus, approximately two-thirds of the people arrested during these raids were "civil immigration violators who are in the wrong place at the wrong time - people who have, for example, overstayed their visas." The report also uncovered a pattern of racial profiling against Latinos. Approximately "90% of the collateral arrest records reviewed, where ICE officers did not note any basis for seizing and questioning the individual, were of Latino men and women - though Latinos represented only 66% of target arrests."
If you think we've gone far enough, America's Voice has a petition up for you to sign.