On Mar. 6, at least 300 undocumented workers were arrested in a leather manufacturing plant owned by Michael Bianco, Inc., in New Bedford, Mass., 50 miles south of Boston. It was one of the largest immigration raids the area has ever seen. The vast majority of workers arrested are women from Mexico and Central America.
The raids tore apart families and disrupted the functioning of entire immigrant communities. Many children of the
Immigrant rights organizations estimate that at least 200 children are missing a parent caught up in the sweep. Many were left with babysitters and at daycare centers for hours following the raid, with caregivers receiving no word from their mothers or fathers.
The undocumented workers detained most likely will be deported. Many will be forced to make the wrenching decision either to leave behind their young children—some are U.S. citizens—or take them to a country where they have never set foot.
According to Corinn Williams, director of the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts, “It’s been a widespread humanitarian crisis here in New Bedford.”
Agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security claimed the mass raids were carried out because the leather plant was “conspiring to encourage or induce illegal aliens to reside in the United States, and conspiring to hire illegal aliens.” Other charges include the use of “fake identification” for undocumented workers.
As with other past raids, this is another “crackdown” on undocumented workers, according to ICE officials.
The racist raids are attempts to increase the insecurity of the labor force to keep wages as low as possible.
The recent anti-immigrant laws passed by the state of Colorado show how the capitalist state uses myriad repressive tactics to “crackdown” on the immigrant community. The new law caused a labor shortage in Colorado, which the agricultural capitalists have tried to fill by using prisoners as workers for pennies a day.
Despite the recent crackdowns, no significant portion of the U.S. ruling class wants to end immigration. If the flow of undocumented workers is cut off, businesses will have to pay citizens and residents higher wages to work. Undocumented workers can be exploited as cheap labor, because they have no legal status in U.S. capitalist society.
Homeland Security’s “crackdown” on identity theft will likely bring more racist raids targeting undocumented workers as it has taken place in the past few months. The government’s message is clear—it wants to keep the immigrant population in check. It wants to scare immigrants into submission so they won’t struggle for basic workers’ rights.
As revolutionaries, we denounce these racist raids and demand full legalization for all immigrant workers and their families.