Deportees already returning less than 3 weeks after raid
by DAVID HAMMER
A pregnant woman who was separated from her husband and two small children and deported to Mexico on July 26 has already returned to Arkadelphia, Hispanic activists say.
The woman's story is just one of several desperate efforts to reunite families by those deported in an immigration raid at an Arkadelphia poultry plant. Cesar Compadre, a physician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and head of the Hispanic aid organization La Casa, said he met the woman Sunday while providing food and medical care to many of the 30 children left unattended in Arkansas.
"It's the most ridiculous thing; it's like the Middle Ages," an exasperated Compadre said after he and three other doctors treated 25 kids and half a dozen adults.
But Marc Raimondi, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said it should not come as a surprise when the U.S. government enforces its immigration laws. Since incorporating immigration enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security 2 1/2 years ago, expectations have changed, he said.
"It's not like before when the immigration system was considered optional by some," he told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Our goal is to return integrity to our immigration system through vigorous enforcement."
Compadre said his medical team provided the woman with prenatal care. She said she was taken from Arkadelphia less than three weeks ago, detained in Texarkana and Dallas, dropped off in the middle of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico — just across the Rio Grande River from Laredo, Texas — and immediately made her way back to Arkansas.
"She was traumatized to the point that she's almost unresponsive," Compadre said. "She's back in here and we were able to get her proper prenatal care. It's at least stable at this moment."
Raimondi could not comment on the woman's specific case, but in general, he said, returning to the U.S. illegally after being deported is a serious offense. Depending on the terms of deportation, a repeat offender could face up to 20 years in federal prison, he said.
Federal agents arrested 119 workers when they raided the Petit Jean poultry plant on July 26. Immigration and Customs Enforcement initially said the workers were separated from their children because they claimed they had no children with them. Later, the agency said some of those deported had said they had children staying with relatives in Arkansas.
Gov. Mike Huckabee was among those who criticized the way immigration officials handled the raid, specifically the issue of the 30 children, many of whom are born in the U.S. and are American citizens. Huckabee donated $1,000 from a state emergency fund to help the community through a Hispanic Baptist church in Arkadelphia, and the League of United Latin American Citizens matched the gift.
Compadre said another segment of the affected population attends the Catholic church in Arkadelphia, and that's where the medical team went Sunday.
Despite the help and donations from local food banks, the affected families are still short on diapers and other supplies for younger children, Compadre said.
La Casa and other Hispanic groups had already planned to meet Monday with Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., to discuss their community work, and Compadre said he would raise the question of immigration enforcement. Compadre said he couldn't understand why immigration agents would raid hardworking people who were filling jobs that nobody else would take.
Raimondi said it isn't that simple. While the government placed priority on catching illegal immigrants who pose security threats, work force enforcement is also important, particularly those who work in critical infrastructure sectors like transportation and the national food supply, he said.
Boy if I lived in Arkansas I'd be PISSED.
She's so desperately scared she'll lose the chance to have her anchor baby.
We need to change the Constitution to exempt from citizenship children born to people who are here illegally.
someone ought to beat the shit out of cesar compadre...then piss on mike huckabee.
That'll never happen, political correctness has stolen this countries spine, the politicians will continue to bow to the illegals and their precious "anchor" babies.
They didn't admit they had children as they were leaving the country?
doesn't sound like any mothers I know...........
From what I hear they probably have one stolen SS number to work with
and another couple of SS numbers to claim welfare, afdc and medicaid with
and we are paying for all of it.............