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Teens' Take on Raids

New America Media, Commentary, Various Posted: May 03, 2007

Editors Note: For the past several months, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have swept through small California towns like Mendota and Madera, arresting more than 225 immigrants whom they suspected of being undocumented. The raids left communities in a state of shock and fear for the future. Wives were left without husbands, and some children were left without parents. Many immigrants now feel they are unsafe in public, or even in their own homes.

Teen writers from the Fresno youth publication The Know share their thoughts on the effect of the raids on their community.

FRESNO -- I think its wrong that the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers send so many people who dont have papers back to the countries where they were born, after so many years in the United States and so much hard work trying to learn English and fit in. Every human being should be treated equally no matter their color, or where they come from. Honestly, if no Mexicans were here today, the white people wouldnt have any fruits or vegetables. Mexicans were the ones who worked in the fields and because of them, we have food. I dont think white people would stand in the sun and cut or plant food to grow. I dont want to sound racist, and for sure I am not, but everyone should have the right to be a U.S. citizen.
-- Anna, 16


I am an immigrant too and I dont think it will be fair if one day at four in the morning, they pick me up. I am in this country to improve myself. I did not come to become a criminal, I came for a better future. Life in my country, Honduras, is hard. The poverty is increasing each day and opportunities and jobs are decreasing. Even if you go to college in Honduras, they dont hire you because of your education. Everything is based on what political party you belong to. For reasons like this, I came to this country. I want a better life and a good future for my descendents.

Right now I am still in high school. After that, I am going to college and I am going to work. I dont think that I am committing a crime--Im helping myself and this country. I feel sad for those families and kids who are immigrants and getting kicked out. I dont think the government cares about these children. Taking them away from their parents is just destroying their lives.
-- Carolina, 19


As the door flew open
My heart jumped
The lights in the hallway glowed
Like a path of cinders

There were shouts in the distance
Coming closer every second
My father was shouting something at
Mother, who had a fearful voice
I couldnt hear what was going on
I didnt know what was going to happen

Mothers cries became sharper
And painful
Her pain made my heart ache
And I cried
Cried in confusion

Heavy steps of grown men
Faded away
As did fatherthen mother

Everything went quiet

From then onI dont know
How I felt
Was I scared? Was I sad?
I dont even know
I just want my parents back
--Jaleesa, 17


I believe the immigration raids are wrong. The children have to leave behind their friends and people they really care for. The adults have to leave everything they worked for in the United States and go back to where they began probably from nothing. The have to choose between taking their children back to nothing, or letting them stay alone in the United States for a better education.
--Kiya, 17

I think for kids to face deportation is strictly wrong. Kids are losing friends and loved ones through this terrible situation. Some kids are even losing their parents. I wouldnt want to lose my friends because of a stupid borderline. People are supposed to be treated equally no matter where you come from. But now, they are just trying to kick you out.
--Keya, 17


When the United States takes away kids parents, they are abandoning those kids. The United States is so messed up. It doesnt care who it hurts as long as they get what they want. Their actions dont even make sense. It seems like its the governments way or the highway! Which really sucks.
--Laqusha, 19


If I had to choose between going back to the old country or living in a foster home with some people that Ive never met before, and they are supposed to take care of me and make sure I make something of myself, I would stay yet want to go.
--Marcus, 17


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