All speak of the same concerns, and the same confusion. They do not understand why some people disparage them as “illegals” or “criminals.” They do not understand why federal officials are pressing criminal identity theft charges against many of the detained immigrants, who say they did not know they were buying stolen information.
“I wish people could put themselves in our situation for one moment. What would they do if they were poor, if they were in dire need? Wouldn’t they risk coming here as well?” asked Maria Ruiz, whose 5-year-old son was born in this country. “I wish that the hearts of people with hearts of stone, of ice, the people of ICE, could be transformed into good hearts. We came here to work, not to do harm to anyone.”
ICE officials defend the raid, saying the workers arrested were violating immigration laws and committing identity theft.
“They are serious offenses and we will not apologize for enforcing the nation’s laws. If 305 U.S. citizens had committed identity theft and misuse of Social Security numbers, would people expect us to look the other way?” said Tim Counts, an ICE spokesman. “Any disruption, whether to families or communities, should be put at the feet of those who violate the law.”
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