ICE Raids in Sandusky

By now, I'm sure you have heard about the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on two Lawn and Garden centers in Sandusky and Castalia. Two hundred government agents accompanied by helicopters overhead descended, taking away 114 undocumented, hardworking parents and spouses without warning.

Last week I joined others for a press conference at El Centro in Lorain to react to the incident. In my opinion, the strongest speech was given by Lorain Chief of Police Cel Rivera who stated that if we continue to terrorize these communities we will all become less safe. The people of these communities will not call police when they become victims of crimes and those crimes will spread. He also made the point that when ICE goes after law-abiding people, it is much easier for ICE to arrest hard-working immigrants trying to provide a living for their families than going after gang members and violent criminals. Picking the low hanging fruit...

After everyone made their statements they called an immigrant family in hiding in Sandusky. The father had been taken at work by ICE that morning. The mother was terrified. She told us she and her husband had been living in Sandusky for 16 years and have three American born children. They were not running the air conditioning, lights or anything else to give the appearance that no one was in the home. She stated, 'We sweat and we work hard just to make a living.' She put the ten-year-old daughter on the phone. The daughter was crying and begging for help. Then she put the seven-year-old on and he was crying so hard his words were barely understandable.

Folks, this reminded me of the story of Anne Frank. What has become of our country? I wanted to go to Sandusky and help protect those poor people. We cannot let this go on! It's not enough to just say, "What a shame." "Oh, how sad." All people of good conscience have got to take a stand against this shredding of American values! Dante wrote, "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality".

If you don't vote, register. If you are registered, make a plan for voting and taking four friends with you. Make SURE you are voting for people of good conscience. Yes, they are on the ballot. If you are writing letters to editors or representatives, get involved with any campaign to change the face of our congress. If you are afraid to talk to voters on the phone or in person, remember those hiding, terrified children and gather your strength. They need us. Now.

I will ask, again, a question I have been asking all along: How bad does it have to get before you, personally, feel the need to stand up and say, "NO MORE"? To paraphrase the poem "First They Came For" written by Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller "First they came for the (undocumented immigrants) and I did nothing because I wasn't an (undocumented immigrant)"...

Yes these people may be undocumented and yes we can’t continue to permit illegal immigration in this country, but these kinds of terror tactics in rounding up otherwise peaceful workers just highlights how desperately we need comprehensive immigration reform to have a fair and sensible system that will eliminate the occurrence for these kinds of incidents.

I will continue to focus on this issue this week. I have published a guest column in the Norwalk Reflector. I encourage you to read it and share widely.

Tomorrow in Norwalk, I will be rallying with community members and local leaders to show solidarity with the families affected by this tragedy and to demand that our leaders take up immigration reform in Congress. I hope to see some of you there. Click here to view the Facebook event information.

Janet GarrettComment