UPDATE:You can listen to Sen. Kennedy respond to your questions on Evoca.
Cross posted at Daily Kos
There are those who think that the problem of immigration can easily be solved by walls on our borders and strict law enforcement in our country. I wish they could have joined me last Sunday afternoon at St. James Church in New Bedford. I saw first-hand the pain and suffering of the families and community ripped apart by the recent enforcement raid by the Department of Homeland Security.
The reality of illegal immigration is anything but simple and the solutions are difficult. The Department of Homeland Security was ready with hundreds of officers to subdue a group of frightened workers, but they were totally unprepared to deal with the aftermath of their raid. DHS knew that it would be detaining young parents, and yet it had no effective plan to identify and help the children who would be left alone. The photographs of bewildered, desperate, crying children brought home the full horror of the government raid distinguished by its callousness.
The resulting situation has been described as a “humanitarian crisis” by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and the raid has received national attention.
Community activists scrambled to locate the children, offer infant-care tips to parents unfamiliar with warming a formula or changing a diaper. One baby who was breast-feeding had to be hospitalized for dehydration because her mother remained in detention. Child-care arrangements had to be made for at least 35 children.
No statistic or government report could have made clearer the need for immigration reform.
Gridlock in the last Congress stalled bipartisan efforts to solve the nations immigration crisis. But we will try again soon. The challenge is to combine increased enforcement and tougher penalties on employers who hire the undocumented with a way for the millions of undocumented workers already here to earn citizenship by working hard and paying taxes.
The fact is, immigration is about more than numbers. The story of Lilo Mancia, whose wife remains in custody, after the New Bedford raid, is common but something we are rarely able to see.
Without her, I am dead,” said Lilo, breaking into tears. His boys are suffering, too. “They ask for her,” he said. Jeffery, who has an ear infection, cried in his father”s arms. His brother kept running around the church basement with his new friend, a green Incredible Hulk doll.
We must find a better solution to our immigration crisis than raids that rip families apart.
I look forward to hearing from you about this post, as well as my recent op-ed article in the Boston Herald.
My staff members will be available to answer some of your questions in the comments. I will also monitor your questions, and personally respond to some of your questions tomorrow.
Photo of Lilo Mancia provided courtesy of the photographer.