Friday, January 30, 2009

Fact Sheet on Raids...


Since its creation in 2003, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detained thousands of people in raids on businesses and residences throughout the country. According to ICE, these raids are designed to protect public safety and national security by enforcing federal immigration law. However, these raids cause a considerable amount of hardship for immigrants and their families- both in the U.S. and in home countries- and for U.S. citizens.

Raids separate families, violate U.S. due process laws, hurt the economy, waste taxpayer money, misuse local police, and threaten the basic human rights of U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike. The aftermath of a raid continues well after the operation is over, and towns are left to deal with the resulting humanitarian and economic crisis.

Obama and Congress have to power to change this by passing immigration reform, instead of relying on immigration raids to enforce a broken system. Additionally, Obama will only sign an executive order ending immigration raids if we make sure voices heard loudly along with the voices of immigrants and allies.

Facts: The Raids

  • In 2008, 5,100 were taken into custody during workplace raids compared to 685 in 2004.1
  • Many raids involve violations of due process, including entering without a warrant, interrogation without reasonable suspicion of unlawful immigration status, and racial profiling.2
  • Many ICE raids have resulted in the interrogation and detention of U.S. citizens. According to a recent report by the DHS Inspector General, agents rely on data that is outdated an inaccurate in up to 50% of cases.

Facts: The Costs

  • In 2002, ICE’s budget was $2.4B, in 2008 it was $5B. That’s 80% more than the Environmental Protection Agency and $4B more than the Department of State. Failure to pass immigration reform has resulted in a bigger budget and a bigger problem.3a
  • Although ICE has not disclosed the amount spent on all of its 2008 raids, $5.2 million was spent on the raid on Agriprocessors in Iowa. 389 workers were detained, making the cost $13,300 per detainee.3b
  • It costs approximately $95 per person per night to keep a person in a detention center.

Facts: The Detention Centers

  • Over 300,000 people are held in immigration detention facilities each year. The annual cost to the government is nearly $2 billion.4
  • Approximately 67% of people detained in ICE raids are not held in Department of Homeland Security detention centers. Instead, they are detained in over 312 county and city prisons nationwide where DHS rents bed space. Detained immigrants are mixed in with incarcerated criminals. 5
  • Immigrants detained in raids can remain in detention centers for as long as three years.6 During this time, detainees are held in severely overcrowded facilities, sometimes 50% over design capacity.
  • Between January 2004 and November 2007, 67 people died while in custody in detention facilities. No government body is required to keep track of deaths and publicly report them.7

Facts: The Communities and Families

  • Although ICE does allow for the release of some detainees for humanitarian reasons (including those who are sole caregivers or whose absence would cause undue hardship for the family), many undocumented immigrants are afraid to tell ICE agents that they have children. Children whose parents are detained and eventually deported, are sometimes put into the foster care system.8
  • 5,000,000 U.S. citizens under the age of 18 have 1-2 undocumented parents. 9
  • Small towns and local economies can be crippled by immigration raids. In towns such as Laurel, Mississippi and Postville, Iowa, sites of the two largest ICE raids in U.S. history, the loss of taxpayers, tenants, and workers at businesses have caused property values to plummet and general economic crisis. 10

For citations, email

Progress by Pesach in JTA

Check out the JTA article on Progress by Pesach:

and in Religion News Service:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

After you sign the letter to Obama at, make sure to add this sentence:

"I am calling on President Obama to issue an excutive order ending raids immediately."

This will ensure the message to end raids gets heard in addition to calling for comprehensive, humane, federal immigration reform.

We are Officially Launched!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Did you know that President Obama's policy agenda is laid out on the White House website? It's an interesting read. For the full agenda, see

I've excerpted the immigration agenda, below. What do you think?


"The time to fix our broken immigration system is now… We need stronger enforcement on the border and at the workplace… But for reform to work, we also must respond to what pulls people to America… Where we can reunite families, we should. Where we can bring in more foreign-born workers with the skills our economy needs, we should."

-- Barack Obama, Statement on U.S. Senate Floor
May 23, 2007

For too long, politicians in Washington have exploited the immigration issue to divide the nation rather than find real solutions. Our broken immigration system can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a complete solution that secures our border, enforces our laws, and reaffirms our heritage as a nation of immigrants.

Create Secure Borders: Protect the integrity of our borders. Support additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.

Improve Our Immigration System: Fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.

Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally: Remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Bring People Out of the Shadows: Support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.

Work with Mexico: Promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.

Posted by Suzanne Bring