Friday, September 28, 2007

So Torn, So Torn...

I read this news article on Yahoo! News yesterday:

Hispanic immigrants sue city after crackdown
By Av Harris

Wed Sep 26, 9:02 PM ET

Ten Hispanic immigrants filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a Connecticut city, its mayor and police chief, and federal agents who led a crackdown on illegal immigration last year.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, claims the arrests violated the civil rights of nine workers and a 10th man who was stopped at a traffic light, including their right to due legal process, free speech and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, according to court documents.

It is the latest legal challenge to crackdowns on illegal immigrants, as localities nationwide grapple with how to handle their status.

The lawsuit claims undercover police in Danbury, Connecticut, lured the workers into a van by posing as contractors looking for day laborers.

"He offered us work and we took it," plaintiff Juan Barrera told a news conference, referring to an undercover police officer. "We didn't know why, but they immediately arrested us and put us in handcuffs. We didn't know what was going on.

"They treated me like a violent criminal and all I was trying to do was find work," Barrera added.

After their 2006 arrest in a sting set up by local and federal authorities, the men were handed over to federal agents, held without charge for days or weeks, then transported to detention centers before being released on bond, court documents said.

The plaintiffs, represented by Yale University law students, claim the U.S. Constitution protects the civil rights of all people in the United States. The attorneys would not discuss their clients' immigration status or their countries of origin.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton vowed to defend the city.

Boughton, a Republican, is a well-known crusader against illegal immigration. Two years ago, he wanted Connecticut State Police find illegal workers and turn them over to the U.S. immigration agency for deportation. Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell rejected the request.

My question here is, are illegal aliens subject to the same rights we, as citizens (natural born or otherwise) get to enjoy? On one hand I want to say no because then it offers few incentives to becoming a citizen and paying taxes and lessening the tax burden on the rest of us. But if they aren't subject to our rights, wouldn't that A) also mean they are not subject to our laws and B) give crazy, power-tripping cops the authority to treat them like dogs in the street?

Times like this I wish I knew more about politics, government or law...

*smooches...loving my shiny blue passport*
Every night you cry yourself to sleep
Thinking: "Why does this happen to me?
Why does every moment have to be so hard?"