Monday, March 19, 2007


This time, not just referring to the collection of posts that are to follow, but, less benignly, their content.

First, so we know what we're talking about: there was an immigration raid, in New Bedford, MA, resulting in, among other things, hundreds of infants and very young toddlers being separated from their parents, mothers mostly. Possibly forever.

via brownfemipower

NPR report(s), "Raid on Illegal Immigrants Brings Chaos to Town"

Donna at Silence of Our Friends has a collection of articles as well.

or just go directly to video:

(If you like, you can go directly to YouTube and see how some of the -other- people have decided to spin this; there's one charmer who's, well, -is- that actually an excerpt from "Cops?" or is it some amateur trying to emulate the popular show? i wouldn't know. in any case, it's just lovely, really. "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do"--well, it's not -boys-, they weren't -bad-, and what they AREN'T going to be doing for a good long while is feeding our kids. yay Cops. Yay AUHTORITAH. protect us from the bad scary people sewing our clothes for below-minimal wages and trying to survive).

Now, the commentary:

brownfemipower, by the title-question alone: Do Immigrant Women count as Women?

Donna again:

Boston immigrants own more than 8000 small businesses and employ about 37,000 people. They generate more than $823 million in state and federal taxes. Some of them are here illegally. Arresting them and deporting them back to Haiti, the Dominican Republic or China — which are the homelands of the city’s three largest immigrant groups — solves nothing. As the New Bedford raid shows, such attempts at deportation have what we can only hope were unintended consequences.

Not only did Michael Bianco Inc have the one government contract that everyone knows about, for $83.6 million to make backpacks and safety vests for the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency, they also have a US Army contract for $138 million.

They manufacture high end leather goods for Coach, Timberland, and Rockport.

It is alleged that INSOLIA (the owner of Michael Bianco Inc.) continues to maintain a workforce of which the majority are illegal aliens. It is further alleged that he intentionally seeks out illegal aliens because they are more desperate to find employment, and are thus more likely to endure severe workplace conditions he has imposed. It is alleged that these conditions include: docking of pay by 15 minutes for every minute an employee is late; fining employees $20 for spending more than 2 minutes in the restroom and firing for a subsequent infraction; providing one roll of toilet paper per restroom stall per day, typically resulting in the absence of toilet paper after only 40 minutes each day; fining employees $20 for leaving work area before break bell sounds; and fining employees $20 for talking while working and firing for a subsequent infraction.

Michael Bianco Inc was making huge amounts of money on it's contracts. The only reason to take advantage of immigrants is GREED. The owner and managers were arrested and within one day are back on the street. You see, they had access to lawyers and cash, unlike the immigrants.

...If you're one of those people who are thinking, but gosh, those immigrants are "illegals", they are breaking the laws and deserve what they get... Sometimes the laws are immoral. Any law that doesn't recognize that we are all citizens of the world and deserve equal treatment, equal dignity, and equal respect is an immoral law.

Via brownfemipower and Black Feminista, the Boston Banner, "A New Era of Slave Catchers"

Now, in the 21st century, 144 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, another people have fled both economic and political repression to come to this country to seek freedom and opportunity. The immigrants from countries south of our border have not come to break the law. They have come to seek the same opportunities for freedom. They have come to feed their families. They have come to support their families who remain in their former towns and villages.

And the new slave catchers, employees of the U.S. government, sweep down like vultures to capture those who have tried to liberate themselves. And they find them — not in the welfare offices, not begging on street corners, but working in substandard conditions for substandard wages.

It is more than ironic that in New Bedford, the dreadful sweep was undertaken in the inhumane factory of a manufacturer whose primary client was the United States government. So families were torn apart. Children — many born here and thus citizens — have lost their parents. Wives and husbands have been separated. Who knows when and how they will be reunited? And people who have been working, contributing to the safety of our soldiers in Iraq, are torn from their livelihood and their hope...

...At the same time, we read in the newspaper that some farmers are trying to get the government to loan out prisoners to harvest the fields because there are not enough migrant laborers. Change one type of slave labor for another. This is happening in the land of freedom and opportunity.

These actions of the government are shameful. We have denied our heritage. We have trampled on our ideals. We have witnessed a dreadful injustice. We have kept silent. We have failed our democracy.

Sylvia, at Anti-Essentialist Conundrum: "An Open Letter to Feminists of the Paler Persuasion"

If you’re willing to let children be orphanized and have women abused so you can experience the joys of my fucking angry tone, then sit smug and be assured you’re sitting with the blood of hardworking loving mothers and sick children who need their mothers’ milk on your stupid, inconsiderate, shallow heads. If you want to know what makes me a feminist, it is the fact that women being separated from their children makes me sick. It is the fact I find it abhorrent that women who work hard to provide for their families are corralled like dogs because this country denies them access to citizenship.

And lastly, it is the fact I hate when people refuse to speak out against such violence, refuse even to utter a whispered “that’s wrong,” because that’s placing some arbitrary prescriptive value on another person’s LIFE. Everyone’s life is worth the time to try to save it or at least to make it bearable. And in this case, I don’t see many people even aiming for that luxury. I don’t know if helping this cause will get you into the higher tier of super famous feministy feminism of feminine virtue, but it might bring some of these families back together. I don’t know how high the praise and appreciation will be, but I’m sure that some small children will be grateful to see their mothers again.

Plains Feminist, simply: Please Help:

or go directly to the MIRA Coalition.

1. Donate Money: The New Bedford Immigrant Families/ Niños Fund is now accepting donations. MIRA is working with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts (SFSEMA) in distributing all funds raised to the affected children and families.

Click here to donate online. Please specify that the funds are for "New Bedford Immigrant Families / Ninos Fund." Or send a check to the MIRA Coalition, 105 Chauncy St, Boston, MA 02111. Please make checks out to the "New Bedford Immigrant Families / Ninos Fund." Donations are tax-deductible and 100% of your donations to this fund will be distributed to the affected families through the Commuity Foundation of Southeastern MA (CFSEMA).

2. Volunteers: We are compiling a list of willing volunteers. Right now we need people willing to drive New Bedford families from their homes to the JFK federal building in Boston. We also need immigration lawyers willing to take pro-bono cases, preferably a bilingual Spanish speaker. Please call MIRA with your name and contact information at 617-350-5480 x212.

3. Material Donations: Needed items: Pampers in all sizes; Baby wipes; bottles and bottle liners; Enfamil Soy baby formula; all types of baby food and winter baby clothing. Canned food, bottled water and paper produces are also needed. Donations should be dropped off between 8:30am and 4:30pm at 2 Acushnet Ave, New Bedford at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent.

4. Voice Your Opinion: Write to your local newspaper and call into your local radio station to decry the devestation this raid has caused. Our immigration laws are supposed to unite families not destroy them. Read the press releases and articles and then click here for tips on writing a letter with some local paper links.

5. Write and Call Your Members of Congress: Capital Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Ask them to speak directly with Secretary Chertoff to request that he "Release the Moms." Also demand a moratorium on deportations until reform has passed. A sample letter is below--please invite your friends and families in other states to also write in!...

more details


DAV said...

Its a pretty sad state when someone's immigration status must be secure before we treat that was human.

DAV said...

Ok this is shameless and off topic, on a pretty serious issue. Let me apologize firstly.

Secondly I really like fetch my Axe, and I would be honored beyond words if my lame blog could somehow squirm its way into your blogroll. If you are looking for a recommendation, my mom does in fact state that I am cool.

belledame222 said...

How can I say no to Johnny Bravo?

I'm gonna put it in "multi-theme/political" category, unless you have any objection.

DAV said...

Holy cow!!! Hurrah!!!

Dj Triple Threat said...

Do Immigrant women count as women is dope.

I just MIGHT have to bag that one.

louisa said...

this makes me sick. I plan to write a editorial letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer to inform others of this horror.

Chuckie K said...

"The only reason to take advantage of immigrants is GREED."

Oh well, time for philosophical quibbles again. I don't reaaly buy the explanation of corporate behavior in moral terms. If the problem were greed, the real answer would be to pray for the directors and managers and preach sermons of repentance to them.

I prefer to say that the only reason to treat immigrants in this way is the inherent, systemically inescapable pressure to increase both the amount of profits and the rate at which you make them ina ssytem based on competition and competitive efficiency. If success means survival and if the only standard for success is to compare how much you made how fast with how much your competitors made how fast, then you have to look for any advantage.

belledame222 said...

shrug. i have no problem with talking morals. yeah, it's systematic and a matter of "survival," but it still begs the question of what's trying to survive, and why, in the first place.

R. Mildred said...

If the problem were greed

The problem is that immigrants aren't considered human enough that their exploitation and abuse is worth caring about, the problem is that people - men, women, children, tuppin' babies - are being killed and maimed and raped and destroyed from the inside out (as well as from the outside in).

I'm not sure anyone really cares why the floppy chinned bastards responsible for this feel compelled to do this, I personally would merely chalk it up to a habitual compulsion on their part and leave it at that, the more important aspect, in my mind, is to A) stop them, and hopefully B) have them shot.

belledame222 said...

well, sometimes being able to answer "why" is helpful in the "stopping." not in the "tell us about your childhood" way, but more in the "find out how they work so as to have a more accurate model for taking 'em apart/down"

belledame222 said...

(currently reading: "The Sociopath Next Door." and finding it rather apt).

R. Mildred said...

yeah but whenever a white guy does something evil a discussion starts about whether or not he's in a tent or something - I'm sick to death of having to feign an ability to care about the deep inner workings of the bourgious subconcious, I like the viewpoint that shooting's too good for them and torture isn't worth the effort, therefore making shooting them the "lesser of all the various evils" in this instance.

Also, to quote angel:
"People who don't care about anything but themselves, will never understand the people who do"

*slaps angel through a wall*

"yes, but we won't care."

R. Mildred said...

...In so far as I don't care about anyone but the people being murdered and brutalised in this instance.

R. Mildred said... this instance.

KH said...

“I prefer to say that the only reason to treat immigrants in this way is the inherent, systemically inescapable pressure to …”

Competititve pressure doesn’t account for the differences in behavior between equally situated firms, which don’t all treat immigrant workers equally badly. Moral norms, both codified & uncodified, do explain some aspects of the behavior of competitive firms, as even professional economists have begun to understand. I suspect, for example, that most US companies commit somewhat fewer cold-blooded murders than they should, judging only on the basis of shareholder equity. And moral norms aside, the self-interest, enlightened or otherwise, of firms varies; just as some sectors of capital historically pursued Fordist strategies, important business lobbies now advocate changes in immigration law that would at least regularize the status of undocumented workers, mitigating some of the worst current abuses. There will always be firms that greedily exploit the opportunities exclusionary laws create to abuse immigrant workers, but capitalists’ pursuit of profit isn’t the only or even main reason for the existence of the laws that make these worst forms of exploitation possible. Undocumented workers are deprived of the protection of the law in no small part because scores of millions of Americans like it that way, because of racist & nativist atavism, fear of competition in labor markets, etc, etc. (Hostility to the Other’s freedom of movement isn’t limited just to cases involving international boundaries. If they Constitutionally could have gotten away with it, I suspect a lot of Virginians, for much of the country’s history, would have supported laws restricting the right of citizens of the District of Columbia – read: black people – to travel or work in the Commonwealth.) Socialists shouldn’t make the mistake of attributing the bases of political support for anti-immigrant legislation, or all the injustices to which immigrant workers are subjected, solely to the capitalist drive to maximize profit.