You don’t often see business leaders participate in a day meant to memorialize worker solidarity. Here in Southern California, however, the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration raids have caused the unimaginable to happen. A growing chorus of opposition to immigration raids is now joined by the The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and political leaders including California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), quoted in today’s Los Angeles times, says “It’s ICE’s sworn duty to enforce our nation’s immigration and customs law and the agency is going to aggressively pursue that mandate.” Speaker Nuñez is spot on, however, in attacking the government’s “overboard meat-ax approach.” What Ms. Kice apparently forgets is that another of ICE’s sworn duties is to exercise prosecutorial discretion when the public interest warrants.
There’s no public interest in using raids as a tactic to embarrass Congress into trying again to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Nor is the public well served by disrupting businesses, breaking up families with American kids, or hurting the nation at a time when the economy is still reeling from the effects of the mortgage meltdown and dried-up credit markets.
It’s time then for ICE to cool it on the raids.