by Emmett Smith
MR Tim Counts is an Immigration & Customs Enforcement PR-officer. I got in touch with him today to protest the news-reports of the immigration-raids in Willmar, MN, this week. My main concern is with those stories that speak of families being broken up whenever undocumented members are deported. Mr Counts replied to say that, in essence, such claims are a pack of lies. He was very serious and professional in his tone overall. The gentleman in fact forwarded me a news-report which I have reproduced at the end of this article. It is nevertheless not a satisfactory document, and accordingly I sent the following communication directly to Mr Counts — more than anything to help him to understand better his work here among us, in Minnesota.
The great thing to remember is that federal law-enforcement types are often from faraway. There is good reason for this and it is to prevent corruption. But, such personnel thus lack personal experience and practical knowledge of the folk whom they are sent to assist and protect, and to supervise. My purpose in writing to Mr Counts was, and is, primarily to help to redress his briefing on us here, in Minnesota, wherever that brief has been less-than-adequate.
When you see for yourselves the specific items I have directed to Mr Counts’ attention, I am sure you will agree that he can only benefit from such a unique “insider’s” irreplaceable insights as are mine — about our true postmodern condition, here at home in southern Minnesota & Greater Iowa.
17 April 2007
DEAR Mr Counts, again thanks to you for the news-report you forwarded earlier today, from Willmar, MN, about the immigration-raids there.
[The text of this press-release as printed in the West–Central Tribune appears below — ES]
NATURALLY, I am not entirely satisfied with what it says, and I wonder if in fact you, Sir, might not be a stranger in these parts?
I Know the federal government likes to move its enforcement-types around in order to prevent any inconvenient local loyalties from springing up.
THAT’S Just good psychology.
THE Problem, though, is that you as a lawman can wind up trying to “protect” a bunch of people whose actual character & real desires you don’t very accurately perceive.
TO Help you better understand the real oldtime southern Minnesota character, therefore, I am sending you the two links below to a couple of pieces of vernacular-writing I have researched & written from personal experience.
THESE People are my maternal people & while I’m not always too proud of them, I think their virtues are their own. Also, I don’t think that they are really off the deep end over “illegal” immigration — unless we keep stirring them up.
HEAVEN Knows, they have their own moral & social problems, as you can read for yourself. To begin with, there’s an unGodly amount of drinking & dope-addiction:
SECONDLY, There is little or no respect for the wisdom & simple good sense of the elderly (that is something these Mexicans could actually bring back in around here!):
IN The hope that this carefully-researched firsthand material will help you to understand a little better this load of “hicks” you are trying to ride herd on for their own good, I am,
[Here there follows the text of the original press-report — ES]
IMMIGRATION ENFORCERS ANNOUNCE ARREST OF 49 IN WILLMAR
Associated Press –04/17/2007
WILLMAR — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported Monday that a four-day operation carried out in Willmar led to the arrests of 49 illegal aliens, criminals and fugitives.
The sting — dubbed “Operation Cross Check” — was part of a nationwide initiative focused on arresting illegal aliens suspected of crimes, according to a news release from the agency. The operation ran from April 10 through Friday and netted 49 illegal aliens, 18 of whom had criminal backgrounds.
“ICE will continue to fulfill our congressional mandate to apprehend and deport those who entered our country illegally, especially those who have committed criminal acts,” said Scott Baniecke, field director for a Bloomington ICE office.
ICE officers also placed detainers on three other suspected illegal aliens being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail.
Among the three is Jazmin Virgen-Ceja, a 33-year-old woman charged with criminal vehicular homicide after crashing her truck into Jo-Ann Fabrics on April 4. The crash resulted in the death of her passenger and injured her 23-month-old daughter.
Virgen-Ceja is also facing a felony charge stemming from allegations that she wrongfully obtained more than $8,000 in public assistance from Kandiyohi County Family Services.
A number of other illegal aliens arrested during the sting had criminal convictions including: fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, domestic abuse, criminal vehicular injury and multiple drug charges.
The sting caused panic within Willmar’s Hispanic community last week, spurring a meeting Wednesday about immigrants’ rights and a brief rally Friday for interviews with a Spanish-language TV affiliate.
Many people feared the presence of ICE officers would result in a widespread sweep of illegal immigrants, much like the December raid at a Swift & Company meatpacking plant in Worthington. More than 200 workers were arrested during the December raid.
At one point last week rumors began circulating that ICE had arrested more than 100 people. Rumors also popped up about agents asking Hispanic people for IDs at Wal-Mart and simply barging into homes.
ICE spokesman Tim Counts later dismissed these rumors.
“People who claim to have the best interest of the immigrant community at heart continue to spread false rumors and false allegations,” he said. “That only increases confusion and fear.”
More than half of those arrested during Operation Cross Check had falsely claimed to be U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico.
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 17 April 2007]