Obama Administration Conducts First Immigration Raid in Bellingham

Immigrant advocates are holding a press conference this morning about yesterday's raid on a Bellingham manufacturing plant--the first nationally under the Obama administration, according to the immigration rights group OneAmerica. Does the raid portend continuation of the Bush policy cracking down on employers using illegal immigrants? Maybe, especially if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) starts putting such raids, as it did yesterday, in context of the scary economy. "That's 28 jobs that are being taken away from U.S. citizens or immigrants who are legally in this country," local ICE spokesperson Lori Dankers told The Seattle Times. If the national mood leaned toward resentment against illegal immigrants before the recession hit, it's bound to get worse, and Obama may be tempted to go with the flow.

According to a OneAmerica press release, 75 agents entered Yamato Engine Specialists in riot gear "with buckets of handcuffs and ankle chains while a helicopter hovered above." Twenty-eight workers were arrested, and three were later released on humanitarian grounds.

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