ICE’s nationwide policy to crack down on undocumented immigrants who have a criminal records seemed like a good step if it would help allocate financial resources towards immigrants that actually do pose a threat to society. However, because of ICE’s new focus and the media’s reporting of criminal immigrants, stereotypes are developing where public perception associates immigrants with criminals.
Recently, ICE arrested over 20 undocumented immigrants on criminal charges in Wisconsin. They are currently awaiting their day in court after ICE came to their places of employment or homes and took them into custody. With three females and 17 males from Mexico, Argentina, Honduras, Laos and Peru, ICE is participating in a campaign illustrating ICE’s new initiatives to target convicted criminals. Unfortunately, many immigrant supporters are pointing out the negative impact and stigma that is put on all immigrants, not just those with a criminal background.
ICE plans on deporting the 20 people hopefully within two weeks, stating, “ICE is focused on sensible, effective immigration enforcement by implementing the following removal priorities: convicted criminals, those who re-entered the United States after having been previously removed and those who have outstanding deportation orders.” University of Wisconsin communication arts professor Karma Chavez thinks this is having the opposite effect intended.
The media and immigration officials are working to create a strong tie between criminality and immigration. While they advertise publicly each arrest and deportation of criminals, the reality is, many times it is families such as husbands, wives and children who are separated. “They never talk about,’ We arrested a mother and her two children, now we’re going to put the two children in foster care and deport the mother.’ Unfortunately, events such as these will only lead to further racial profiling, according the Chavez, and innocent, honest workers will be subject to poor treatment because of a “them and us” cultural division.
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