by Jonathan Gramling
Well Wisconsin experienced what that was all about beginning Friday September 21st when ICE implemented a statewide raid that netted 83
individuals accused of being in the United States without documentation. Reports are that while some of the people did have criminal histories,
ICE was taking everyone available at the time.
It appears that ICE is becoming an agency that is accountable to no one, a kind of domestic CIA. In the CNN report about the transfer of
$200 million to ICE, they talked about “repeated congressional warnings of ICE's ‘lack of fiscal discipline’ and ‘unsustainable’ spending.”
No one knows where the money goes, just like the CIA.
In a press conference on September 24th, Congressman Mark Pocan described ICE as a “rogue” agency, an agency that answers to no one
and is increasingly out of control.
Usually — if for no other reason than to maintain collegiality amongst law enforcement — ICE will inform local law enforcement that an
operation is about to be undertaken. This makes a lot of sense. Who knows what will happen if the police department gets a report of people
in black SUVs kidnapping a man out of his own home. It sure seems to me that it would be a lot safer for local law enforcement to know
what is going on. It’s the safe thing to do.
But according to the Madison Police Department and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, they didn’t hear a peep out of ICE until the operation
was practically over. ICE is now a national police force that answers to or coordinates with no one except Donald Trump. It’s starting to feel
like the SS to me.
And ICE swoops in, grabs 20 people out of Dane County and then leaves the rest of us to pick up the pieces. Left behind are wives and
dependent children who are U.S. citizens. This will be a strain on our resources, voluntarily given or not, to make sure that the basic needs of
the “survivors” of the raids are taken care of.
Last week, I got my hair cut at the Latino Hair Salon on the east side. And my hairstylist and I talked about the raids. She was telling me about
little children who had been traumatized by the raids. Even though they are U.S. citizens — and shouldn’t have to be worried about getting
picked up by ICE — they were frightened and rubbed their brown skin as they expressed their worries that they too would be arrested and
And then there was the impact on Dane County businesses. It almost became a Day without Latinos in many restaurants and hotels in Dane
County as some of the 20 people who were picked up were apparently head cooks at some restaurants and the restaurant, for the short-term,
couldn’t open without them. And apparently, there were other Latino workers — I emphasize hard-working, everyday workers often
performing the most menial of jobs — who went into hiding fearing that they would be picked up at work.
I heard that there was one popular Latino nightspot that was practically deserted on the Saturday of the raids. Apparently people were
avoiding all public places in fear that the ICE raid was exhaustive.
And then how many lost school days occurred because frightened parents kept their children away from school for fear that they may be
snatched by ICE.
Perhaps major disruption and fear is what ICE purposely wanted to do in our Latino community.
If it’s the undocumented immigrants who are criminals that ICE wants, then why are they going to people’s homes and banging on the door
to get let in and misrepresenting themselves as the police? Why aren’t they coordinating with the Dane County Sheriff’s Office to identify
criminals who are undocumented immigrants as they get arrested and taken to the Dane County Jail?
There is very little we can do about this state of affairs at the present time. Trumpism is alive and well in Washington, D.C. and Congress has
neither the will, courage or desire to put a check on Trump’s excesses.
Quite frankly, we have to turn out in record numbers on November 6th for the state and federal elections. While Congressman Mark Pocan
does not have any opposition for the first time during his congressional career, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is up for reelection and is facing
a well-financed Republican opponent. We need Tammy in Washington. Please turn out in record numbers to support her.
Trump, ICE and Voting
There are so many things happening with the Trump Administration and the federal government, it’s
hard to keep track of it all. As Donald Trump does his “rope-a-dope,” things hidden from view start
happening in the federal government.
Will we wake up one day to discover that all of our schools have been privatized? Will we once again
begin to see black clouds on the horizon that are not rain clouds? Will we find out one day that many of
our community centers are closing down because HUD Secretary Ben Carson decided that our urban
areas should be able to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps? After all, his mom and he did it.
There are all sorts of shenanigans going on.
Last month, it was revealed that the Trump Administration, with little or no fanfare, transferred $200
million to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. That’s ICE, for short, the agency that has
been implementing Trump’s stepped up enforcement that has been separating children from their parents
and decimating some families where the breadwinner is removed and the U.S. citizen children are left in
dire economic straits. Of that $200 million, $107 million went to deportation efforts.