Arrests of 31 in U.S. Sweep Bring Fear in New Haven
NEW HAVEN, June 7 — Over the last several years, this city has gone to great lengths to turn itself into a kind of haven, quite literally, for illegal immigrants. It was not that new immigrants were pouring in, but that there were thousands already living here, and the officials who have long run the city wanted to bring them out of the shadows.
The police adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for dealing with immigrants, and the mayor backed a plan for municipal identification cards. Within the borders of this liberal college town, there was hardly a whiff of opposition.
But starting at 6 a.m. Wednesday, two days after the Board of Aldermen overwhelmingly approved the identity card plan, federal agents swept into the largely Hispanic Fair Haven community and arrested some 31 people suspected of being illegal immigrants, many in their homes.
Within hours, any sense of sanctuary that the city and advocates for immigrants advocates had developed over the years was turned upside down, replaced with fear.
“There is truly no safe haven for fugitive aliens,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that conducted the raid.
There should be no safe haven for illegal aliens, they need to be taken into custody and deported. Maybe this will teach people to come here legally using the proper channels.
Call me anything you like, piss and moan about my opinion on this, but I welcome ANY immigrant that comes here legally, with open arms, but come here illegally and as far as I am concerned I have NO pity for you when you are arrested and thrown in jail....that is where criminals belong and if you entered this country illegally, then YOU ARE A CRIMINAL.
It is that simple, depsite all the people that try to make it seem more complicated.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have conducted hundreds of similar sweeps in the last year. In 2006, a spokesman said, they deported more than 221,000 illegal immigrants, many of them after proceedings that began with such arrests. Last fall, an operation in Danbury led to the arrest of 11 men who worked at a local factory.
Immigration advocates in Connecticut were fond of referring to Danbury and New Haven as two poles on the spectrum — the same immigrants who were shunned in the former were welcomed in the latter.
Like many other local leaders, Mayor DeStefano said he had to deal with the practical reality of illegal immigrants, rather than spend his time worrying about proposals to revamp the federal immigration system. But while some mayors were cracking down on housing codes and loitering laws to discourage illegal immigrants from getting too comfortable, Mr. DeStefano said he was more concerned about public safety for the 10,000 of them estimated to live in his city of 125,000.
This is what needs to be done, arrest illegal aliens, deport them and make it clear that we have laws, we will enforce them and the front door is always open... the back door is locked, then make sure to LOCK IT.