As reports regarding the negative health effects of the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast region on workers and residents come in, some of those hired or under contract by BP faced a different kind of hazard on top of the physical risk. A joint report by Feet in Two Worlds and El Diario La Prensa tells how U.S. Federal Immigration Officials used the BP oil spill as a chance to check the immigration status of those cleaning up the damage.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Louisiana confirmed that its agents had visited two large command centers—which are staging areas for the response efforts and are sealed off to the public—to verify that the workers there were legal residents.
“We visited just to ensure that people who are legally here can compete for those jobs—those people who are having so many problems,” said Temple H. Black, a spokesman for ICE in Louisiana…
ICE, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, visited two command centers, one in Venice and the other in Hopedale, twice in May. ICE agents arrived at the staging areas without prior notice, rounded up workers, and asked for documentation of their legal status, according to Black.
Besides using divide and conquer tactics to separate the “documented” from the undocumented, and promote the idea that immigrants have come to the area to steal jobs, I.C.E. is not exactly honest as to their operating procedures.
“We don’t normally go and check people’s papers—we’re mostly focused on transnational gangs, predators, drugs. This was a special circumstance because of the oil spill,” said Black.
Since earlier this year, looking at I.C.E’s own statistics and internal memos, we have learned that I.C.E. publicly says one thing and really does another, going after families and workers via these “soft sweeps”.
No arrests or detentions were made in this case.
Edited to add : This Morning El Diario La Prensa has an editorial regarding this and how again this shows how wrong the Obama administration is being when it comes to immigration.