Saturday, July 10, 2010

Obama's ‘Silent Raids’ on Undocumented Workers

Obama's ‘Silent Raids’ are the subject of Julia Preston's article in the New York Times (Saturday July 10th): "The Obama administration has replaced immigration raids at factories and farms with a quieter enforcement strategy: sending federal agents to scour companies’ records for illegal immigrant workers. While the sweeps of the past commonly led to the deportation of such workers, the “silent raids,” as employers call the audits, usually result in the workers being fired, but in many cases they are not deported."

Aimed at economically starving workers, these audits, according to the same article, "reach more companies than the work-site roundups of the administration of President George W. Bush."

Cited in particular is the case of Gebbers Farms, the center of company town of orchard laborers (population 2,100), forced by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fire its undocumented workers. Included among the terrible consequences of Obama's anti-immigrant “silent raids” on the lives of these workers, is the fact that many were given three months to move out of houses they rented from the company.

Gebbers Farms has applied to the federal guest worker program to import about 1,200 temporary workers. Guest workers are to be shipped in from countries like Mexico and Jamaica, exploited for up to six months, and then shipped back. But as for the former Gebbers Farms workers, they've been left houseless and jobless, fending for their lives and that of their families.
Maria Cervantes is a former Gebbers Farms employee

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