The Obama administration has recently stated that US communities can suffer long-term consequences after immigration raids. “These actions were necessary to protect our neighborhoods from threats,” an attorney general told the press. She went on to explain how such actions, though implemented in a fashion that has violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, are still within the jurisdiction of the courts. While some jurisdictions have gone to the extreme and have banned immigration raids altogether, the vast majority of US communities can benefit from the enforcement of immigration laws by law enforcement officials.
The first question that should be asked is what does an Immigration raid actually accomplish? Most US Communities have been experiencing what I call “Diversity Panic.” This is a phrase coined by sociologist Martin Luther King, Jr. referring to the increased level of fear among some American Communities as a result of news reports about crimes committed by illegal immigrants. These stories about crimes committed by aliens often end up on the front page of local newspapers and attract huge amounts of public attention. Some residents become so afraid that they begin to refuse to visit the local grocery store or shopping mall.
The concern about an overpopulated US community becoming “overpopulated” is valid. The US already has too many immigrants. The suggestion that an immigration raid may cause an increase in the size of a community is therefore not logical. There is no evidence, however, that this particular scenario will occur in any US neighborhood.
The second question that most US Communities need to ask themselves is “How will our new neighbors feel about our caring for them?” If US citizens do not feel that they can care for newcomers coming to their community, there is no way that a professional firm can help. Immigrants cannot be expected to take care of themselves. Many newcomers are not able to provide even the most basic of care for themselves. Therefore, these communities will have to find ways to provide this kind of care for themselves.
In many cases, if the US Government has not conducted an immigration raid in a particular area, but rather has sent out a “surge” of agents into the community, it is likely that this small act will have a negative impact on the community. Since these immigration raids often only affect a relatively small number of people (usually no more than 100), the local population does not feel the full brunt of the shock and disruption. In contrast, if a large number of immigrants are rounded up and sent to the holding facilities, the local population will feel the full impact.
As noted, the US Government has an interest in reducing the number of immigrants that it allows into the country. In many cases, the reduction of the population will allow for a greater level of security for that community. The US Government also has a social responsibility to those who chose to live in the country and help to build the community. With the US Government’s current focus on reducing the illegal population, the impacts of immigration raids on US Communities cannot be avoided.
Communities that have been targeted for immigration raids have also suffered some negative effects. Most of these immigrants are from Mexico or other Latin American countries. They are typically men and come seeking a better life. These men may have been able to stay in the country legally, but either crossed the border illegally or committed another crime to get to the US. Either way, their impact on the community is often devastating.
Even though the impact on US Citizens is usually bad, there are still some good things about immigration. For instance, many immigrants are important sources of food and labor. Without them, many US cities would go hungry. Also, many immigrants are helpful when it comes to adding diversity to a community. They join the community in which they live and work and do not simply move into a neighborhood and expect to find themselves in an equal place. Immigrants have enriched many US Communities for over a century.