On Aug. 12, there was a raid conducted by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] on a plant in Weaverville. Fifty-seven people were arrested for being undocumented workers. [Twenty-eight] folks are in jail in Charlotte or Atlanta, likely to be deported. Twenty-nine were released because they have kids or health issues, but they too will most likely be deported soon.
What I am about to say is not to justify illegal immigration (though poverty and war have mostly left them with little choice). These actions, however, have driven fear into the undocumented community. This fear has grown into panic, keeping people from leaving their homes. I have come to understand that—not coincidentally—the Hendersonville Wal-Mart is about half as busy as it normally is, and a popular Asian restaurant in Arden was almost empty the past couple weekends. Further, it is a known point that some businesses have had to shut down because they don’t have enough clientele to keep them open.
The process of arrest and deportation is expensive. Our tax money pays for this. The longer the [detainees] must stay in jail, the more comes out of our pockets.
Friends, in a time of astronomic economic deficit, is it prudent to be showering communities with fear—thus keeping them from commerce? Is it prudent to be spending tax money on the deportation process, when there is no money to spend on it? A more cost-effective way to handle this issue is with comprehensive immigration reform (not amnesty), offering a just way of keeping our economy growing—not falling into deeper debt.
When we vote, we must consider who is really for a strong economy versus who really just wants our vote.
— Megan Reilly Buser