The irrational fear running through the Central Valley, and especially Madera, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are rounding up hundreds of Latinos who are here legally points out two things.
The first is that a lot of people are in the Central Valley illegally, so many that when a rumor like this gets “legs” it keeps thousands of individuals in their homes who normally would be out shopping or working. This, in turn, hurts employers and businesses who look to this population for a source of labor and trade.
Second, it shows this population is self-marginalizing by dealing in rumors instead of finding out what actually is going on.
The Madera Tribune’s Elsa Mejìa wrote a story April 18 explaining that (1) there was no roundup of anybody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers except those that occur routinely and (2) the rumor probably was started when railroad police made an arrest of a suspect who turned out to be in the U.S. illegally, and called ICE to pick that person up. ICE officers will come to town to collect people who have been arrested for crimes and found to be in the country illegally. But it would be highly unusual for them to be parked in town routinely rounding up immigrants.
Sometimes probation-violation sweeps occur. Sometimes drug raids hit several locations. It isn’t unusual for people who are here illegally to get caught up in those raids, but it usually is because they are involved in criminal activities.
Now, the Associated Press has issued a story, which we printed in today’s Madera Tribune, that’s pretty much the same as Mejìa’s. It relates the same facts as Mejìa reported.
By dealing in unsubstantiated rumors the immigrant population of Madera hurts itself.