With the new Trump administration pushing for safer borders and increased efforts by ICE agents to enforce orders to arrest those in the country illegally, liberal states like Oregon are reacting with outrage. A recent sweep of illegal workers ended in the detention of 11 workers without documentation. The local community insisted these workers were not criminals that should have been targeted for deportation. The city of Woodburn was the location of this particular raid, and a local union was quick to gather a community rally.
Of the 11 original workers that were detained, 7 would be taken into custody. While news reports in mainstream media portrayed all of these workers as innocent and without any type of criminal records, the original sweep was targeting several illegals with criminal records. Their criminal charges included battery, DUI, and child neglect.
The operation to detain these workers was a carefully targeted ICE effort to find illegal immigrants with criminal records. These were not merely hard working farmers, they were in the U.S illegally and some had criminal records. With charges of child neglect, issues surrounding the legitimacy of portraying them as hardworking family men also seems unrealistic.
As the community rallied around the workers who were detained, another rally sponsored by a local union made a presentation about essentially avoiding ICE agents. The President of the Northwest Treegrowers and Farmworkers United, Ramon Ramirez spoke on working against the efforts of the ICE agents.
On the website of the organization sponsoring this public rally, there was information that explains how an illegal immigrant should not cooperate with ICE and avoid giving the agents information. It is apparent this organization stands behind workers who do not, in fact, have a legal right to work in the country. They support those illegal workers breaking the laws to work in this country by giving advice on how to avoid being detained.
One of the biggest arguments made at the rally for not cooperating with ICE agents was the idea that these illegal immigrants are being unfairly targeted. They were portrayed as being hardworking farmers who are not criminals. This is actually not the full truth as often times illegal immigration and crimes like identity theft go hand in hand.
According to The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), children within the U.S are prime targets for identity thefts creating fraudulent documents. In Arizona alone they estimate that one million child victims of identity theft are tied directly to illegal workers. In Utah, studies found that 1,626 companies were paying wages to workers using the stolen social security numbers of children under the age of 13 that were on some form of social assistance. These crimes hurt the youngest and often poorest U.S citizens without any concern for the long-term burdens it places on those children.
Statistics from studies at the CIS also point out the fact that these fraudulent uses of a child’s identity are in fact felonies. Coming to the U.S illegally and then working under fraudulent papers like counterfeit social security cards, perjured I-9 forms, and other altered documents is a crime. Those working with illegal documents are not law abiding workers by any means. The CIS estimates 75% of illegal immigrants working in the U.S do so under fake documents and work every day by breaking the law.
For the illegal immigrants using stolen identities, they violate the law every day they work without being authorized to legally do so. Employers who allow illegal immigrants to work knowing they are in fact not legal also break the law. There are both civil and criminal charges tied to allowing illegal immigrants to work within a company. Even if one argues these workers do jobs many Americans simply do not want, it is pretty hard to argue for the use of illegal documents.
It is obvious that there are of course real civil and criminal consequences for either working illegally or employing illegals. There are also very serious possible legal issues tied to knowingly aiding or harboring illegal immigrants.
With organizations like the union that sponsored the rally supporting the efforts of local illegal workers to avoid being detained by ICE agents, it is clear that this type of group seems to ignore the law. They make no effort to hide the fact that they are aware many within their group and community are illegal. They freely give advice to illegal immigrants to avoid ICE agents who are just doing their job.
Workers who are using fake documents to work are not the law abiding, hard working people the union would like the community to believe. They are breaking law after law to work within the United States. They crossed illegally into the country, secured illegal documents and continue to commit identity theft. The innocent people, in this case, are not the workers being told how to fight capture by ICE, but instead the child victims of the stolen identities.
For community members that look to these illegals as hard worker neighbors and contributing members of their small towns, it is also important to realize the majority of the money they earn does not go into supporting the local economy. That illegally acquired money is often wired back to Mexico to support their families at home.
The lives of American children are being ruined by identity theft to support the activities of these undocumented workers. This is not a victim-less crime as many of those children will see effects of that theft for years and years.
It is time to have real conversations about what illegal immigration entails. Beyond the first steps to cross into the U.S illegally, many illegals continue down this path of crime to hide the fact they are here illegally. They often hurt U.S citizens in the process, sadly even including young children.