June 9, 2011
Legal and illegal immigrants alike in Colorado's cow country are too scared to return to work after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 11 workers at the Wildcat Dairy in Morgan County for using forged green cards. Of 60 workers, 20 were indicted by a Colorado grand jury as "egregious violators" for using forged documents to get work. While ICE still has warrants out for nine workers, 50 of Wildcat's 60 employees were so scared of being deported that they didn't return to the dairy after the raid.
Denver's Westword reported earlier this week on meetings being held by Colorado's Immigration Rights Coalition to ease concerns in the immigrant community:
"One of the CIRC people was watching the kids as the adults were in the meeting," CIRC's Damaris Cooksey recalls, "and she had them make a poster. She asked them, 'What would you want to tell your dad right now? What do you want to say to people about what's happened?' And these six, eight, twelve-year-old kids wrote, 'I love you. I miss you. I wish I could see you. It's not fair.' It was very emotional.
"What a quandary for a parent," she goes on. "How do you explain, 'Your dad's not a criminal, but you're not supposed to work here without these documents -- even though there's nobody here who would do this job if he doesn't.' How do you make a child understand something like that?"
ICE has a ready answer to that question. From an agency press release sent out after the raid:
Document and benefit fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. One of the ways ICE HSI addresses the infrastructure of illegal immigration is by detecting and deterring fraud before it erodes the integrity of the immigration process.