In one of those bizarre coincidences that doesn’t seem like a coincidence at all, Monday’s new policy that will deny green cards to legal immigrants whose lack of financial resources means they could need government benefit programs was followed Tuesday by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on Casa Latina, a small restaurant on Green Street in Hudson.
News travels fast in Hudson, as it does in all communities, on social media, and the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement arrived at the restaurant in a hurry.
Sanctuary Movement member Jarin Ahmed immediately called out ICE: “They have taken one community member, they have chased a couple of community members down the street. They are targeting people that are coming to this specific restaurant, Casa Latina, and you can only imagine why they are targeting a place named Casa Latina.”
Yes, we can imagine.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was justifying the rationale behind the new green card policy.
“The benefit to taxpayers is a long-term benefit of seeking to ensure that our immigration system is bringing people to join us as American citizens, as legal permanent residents first, who can stand on their own two feet, who will not be reliant on the welfare system, especially in the age of the modern welfare state, which is so expansive and expensive,” he said.
Immigrants who don’t have full command of English or who have medical issues could drop out of those programs or avoid them altogether, fearing retaliation or ostracism. The policy demonizes programs that are intended to help them and makes their path to citizenship much tougher. It sends a dangerous message to immigrants and Welcoming and Inclusive communities like Hudson: You are not welcome here.
As for Tuesday’s ICE raid, Sanctuary Movement supporters and allies like Ahmed, 2nd Ward Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga and Sanctuary Movement leader Bryan McCormack peacefully stood by community members and kept a close eye on ICE every step of the way.
A safe, crime-free community is what all citizens want, but the way to accomplish this goal is not through intimidation or scattershot policy changes that turn beneficial social programs against impoverished immigrants. It is through careful and perceptive immigration reform across the nation and in the Twin Counties.