Americans could possibly face a steep increase in the price for milk if ICE’s immigration raids target dairy farms. Hoosier Ag Today reported that Jaime Castaneda, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Trade Policy for the National Milk Producers Federation, spoke on an immigration panel as part of the Consumer Federation of America’s National Food Policy Conference, warning consumers that immigration raids on milk farms could push the price of milk to as high as $8 a gallon. For reference, that is more than a 100 percent increase from the current median price for a gallon of milk, which is about $3.13.
Raids on dairy farms are not unprecedented. As Fusion reports, a couple of dairy farms were raided in 2013 in Michigan as federal agents investigated the owners for hiring and harboring undocumented immigrants for financial gain. Castaneda told the Consumer Federation of America’s National Food Policy Conference attendees that there is hope in the dairy industry that Congress can help immigrant farm workers, but it is shaky.
“We see what happened with the health insurance fiasco,” Castaneda told the conference attendees. “The probability of having something else pass is diminished.”
On Aug. 31 2018, Ramon Torres was pulled over based on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Torres refused to take a breathalyzer test. As a consequence, he was arrested and jailed. The next day, a judge ordered his release, however, he was not immediately let go. Instead, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office placed Torres on an “immigration hold.”
Torres is originally from Honduras, but arrived to the United States with his family when he was a child. In 2009, he became a naturalized citizen.
Those who know Torres, attempted to intervene and supplied the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office with documents, such as his birth certificate, social security card, and U.S. passport, proving that he was a citizen. These documents should have been enough to confirm Torres’ citizenship. Yet, their efforts were ignored and he was kept for a total of four days.
Torres was released only after his friend hired a lawyer.
“The increasing national rhetoric of fear and racism around immigration is tearing apart our local communities,” said Katie Schwartzman, the legal director of the ACLU of Louisiana.
This week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed a suit on behalf of Torres. According to the suit, Torres was held for immigration review due to the color of his skin and his Latinx sounding name. It is an example of racial profiling, an act that is both illegal and unconstitutional.
Torres’ Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights were violated. As a result, the ACLU is seeking to award him compensation for his unlawful detention.
The ACLU is blaming the harmful rhetoric that is currently being spread throughout the country. The line has to be drawn between local law enforcement and federal immigration. Local authorities are there to protect, but time after time, their actions stem from the damaging comments said by government official and their own racial biases.
As a reminder, it is not the duty of local law authorities to enforce immigration policies, especially when they are unconstitutional and unjust. Law enforcement should be able to recognize when protocols are wrong to conduct and hold each other accountable in order to do their duty to protect their community instead of harming it.
Immigrant communities are being unfairly targeted, harassed, and terrorized by the very law enforcement agencies that should be protecting them.
According to the suit filed by the ACLU, Torres asked why he was still being held by law enforcement and received a response by an individual who said it was a policy of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office to automatically hold every Latinx person to conduct a thorough investigation of their immigration status.
This policy is more than questionable. The intention the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office claims to have is to prove that the people they are holding are U.S. citizens. However, when presented with the right and lawful documents they turn a blind eye. It is not a matter of serving their community. In this case, the deputies are looking to terrorize Latinx folks. It is a tactic that has been used in this country before. For example, sheriff Joe Arpaio who conducted traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in Arizona. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt because of his tough scare-tactics against immigrants, but was pardoned by Donald Trump when he took office.
What kind of message does that send to local law authorities? For starters, without accountability, people like Arpaio and those at the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office know that they can get away with harassing Latinx people because they are backed by an administration that shares their same beliefs. Furthermore, it makes it seem okay for the people in power to bully immigrants into hiding. They are demonstrating that Latinx folks are the ‘other’ and it does not matter if they are citizens or not. We aren’t welcome.
Policies like the one the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has in place do more harm than good, thus feeding into laws that are rooted in xenophobia.
If it happened to Torres, who is a citizen of the United States, imagine the many people that have to face the same thing every day – some of which may be citizens or are undocumented. People shouldn’t have to worry about carrying multiple forms of identification with them 24/7 or that these documents won’t be enough to support them, but it’s a reality for many due to the unjust profiling that occurs.
Immigrants are thought of as easy targets, but organizations like the ACLU are attempting to change that by fiercely defending their rights. In their press release, the ACLU states that their goal is to “continue the fight against all forms of anti-immigrant bias and discrimination. The safety and wellbeing of our communities depend on it.”
When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”
How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community.
Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie.
As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.
In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past.
“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”
Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos.
She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.
Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said.
As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.
Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently.
Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.
One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.
Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together.
Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S.
Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live.
In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for.
“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”
It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well.