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Mississippi Raid a Repeat of Iowa

La Opinin, Editorial, Posted: Aug 27, 2008

Editor's Note: Editors of La Opinin are concerned that detainee rights are being violated in the ICE raids in Laurel, Mississippi.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in Laurel, Mississippi, that arrested nearly 600 undocumented immigrants was an operation similar in magnitude to the one that took place in Iowa last May. We are concerned about violations of detainee rights that ocurred in the Iowa incident and may be repeated. There are already signs that is happening.

Initial reports indicate that authorities have been interrogating detainees without their attorneys present, a situation similar to the Iowa case, which foreshadowed other, more serious irregularities.

For example, in Iowa, cases were pushed before judges by asking detainees to plead guilty even though the immigrants did not understand what was happening, according to a federal interpreter who served in the case.

Moreover, in Iowa, efforts were made to reduce court hearings to the formality of following a pre-determined script written by the immigration authorities. And, when attorneys arrived, the time they were able to spend with their clients was limited.

It is unacceptable that these spectacular raids are being undertaken to capture honest, hard-working people. The policy of separating families is heartless.

What is even more intolerable, however, is that the authorities are acting as if constitutional protections did not apply to the detainees, simply because they are undocumented. There is no possible justification for taking advantage of these individuals.

The detainees illegal status does not give the authorities the right to act outside the law.

Related Articles:

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Railroad Justice

Interpreting the Largest ICE Raid in U.S. History: A Personal Account

The Children of Iowa ICE Raids

Raw Nerves Remain After New ICE Arrest in Iowa

After Iowa Raid, Families in Limbo

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