Cultivating a Feeling of Safety and Security Amid ICE Raids and Racist Attacks

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Vulnerability can make people uncomfortable because it exposes them to hurt that can be physical or emotional in nature. Most human beings live with a certain level of fear which is normal. We all experience some trepidation for our well-being due to crime, natural disasters, world conflict, and other dangers that roam the earth each day. Now, what about when the actions of others in society, not only threaten fellow residents’ safety and security but perpetuate fear to the point of spreading terror — how far is too far?

In recent months, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has carried out countless raids looking to arrest undocumented immigrants working or living in the United States illegally. On the 12th of December, 2006 about 1300 illegal immigrants were arrested at Swift & Co. It was the largest raid in US history to take effect in the workplace enforcing illegal immigration. In May 2018 approximately 400 illegal immigrants were detained in Postville, Iowa. The small town saw much activity at a meatpacking plant as agents removed hundreds of illegals from the premises. However, the month of August 2019 saw the highest number of undocumented immigrant arrests in a decade. Mississippi saw 680 people arrested this summer in the biggest sweep at a work site in a single state.

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The Department of Homeland Security estimated in 2015 that the number of immigrants living in the US illegally is in the dozens of millions. These are all foreign-born individuals residing in the US without proper legal documentation. If we take into consideration the fraction number of raids, ICE has not made a dent. The controversy causing heated arguments around the country might not necessarily be about the operations ICE is running but more the manner in which it is handling the arrests and imprisonment of people while figuring out next steps in the process.

Many of us have heard stories about undocumented immigrants who are caught in a crossfire. The raids that have taken place are perceived as cruel. Illegals may be in the wrong place at the wrong time, alone or with friends and family. It can be a matter of getting trapped in a situation where they are trying to make ends meet. In order to provide for family it is necessary to take any job such as a laborer at a construction site, work at a neighborhood bodega or restaurant for pennies. Arriving in the US with nothing does not exclude anyone from the responsibility of putting food on the table. 

To the contrary, the hardship is excruciating as many of these families are looking to have a life that provides basic needs. Rushing into a work site or home imposing force creates terror, unnecessarily. We all want a safe and secure home for our loved ones. While strong opinions of how the current administration handles this situation swarms our televised newscasts, the key issues are being forgotten. It remains important to demonstrate a certain level of humanity towards fellow man. The tactics being used obviously stray from this human ideal, drowning in a body of rules and regulations. Everyone has a right to a better way of living. It is likely, most people will empathize with the bare necessities that come down to human rights — and kindness.

My concern for the world and how it pushes forward in modern society has grown stronger. I believe having a child has changed the way I look at the future, more so for her, than for myself. The world moves at a fast pace, technology is training us to disconnect. We are moving further away from human connection, sometimes seemingly feeling like it’s a thing of the past. All these things lead us to think and act differently towards one another. My perspective to a degree, is that we may be losing some of our empathy towards one another. There are trouble spots popping up more often these days showing a troubled and defensive society. 

Photo Credit A law enforcement officer stands guard at Gilroy High School, a staging area for emergency services near one of the roadways to the entrance of Christmas Hill Park, where the Gilroy Garlic Festival was coming to an end of the last day where an active gunman fired upon patrons in Gilroy, Calif. on July 28, 2019

The history of the US and Racism has a long trajectory going back to the 1700s. Harvard published a paper detailing some of the background information of where the story of racism began. The impacts of some of the beliefs leading to the behavior continues to fuel racial tensions today. The word in itself is charged with resentment and pain creating a sense of fear for those targeted by hate. Threat of any harm due to the color of your skin, language you speak, neighborhood you reside in or religious beliefs is very real. We have seen the horror in recent incidents like in Charlottesville, VA, El Paso, TX and random acts around the country. Plenty of Nonwhite Americans are scared for their lives in light of the violence erupting across their neighborhoods. Reasonably so, as there is no sign of gun reform or consequences that will match the severity of the crimes taking place. In a land where unity and protection of its residents cannot be secured, how do we promote a sense of both to give us some peace of mind?

The simplicity of the response may appear naive, basic yet extremely complex. From where I’m watching, the answer stands among the people of this country. Each one of us has a responsibility as a human being to be kinder to one another. Nirvana does not exist but we don’t have to like each other to live side by side. We just have to attain a certain level of respect for humanity. The foundation of this country is built on freedoms and rights, shouldn’t we expect for all to have the safety and security of living a life that is not marked by fear inflicted by fellow neighbors. Cultivating new behavior takes practice and time to learn but it is possible to modify when there is a willingness to do so.

The ICE raids and racist attacks occurring are leaving new scars, and opening old wounds. Nothing will change until we make the change for ourselves first. The socialization we receive over time becomes ingrained but it’s never too late. Barack Obama was voted into the presidency twice by the citizens of the US and served from 2009 to 2017. There was a time in history when the choice was unimaginable. The 44th President made history, therefore, it is in us to make different choices, one day at a time.

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