These measures included laws, which denied services to undocumented residents, alerted police to assume ICE functions, penalized for employers who hired the aliens, and made English the official language. In Arizona, ordinary citizens were encouraged to report businesses, which hired suspicious foreign-looking persons. Hispanics were the major targets of this xenophobia because they were believed to be the major law violators. Statistics showed that there were approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants, most of them Latinos or Hispanics, in the U.S. The national bias against them showed up in studies, which considered only them in determining how much they were costing the country in services. But did they really drain the economy? A spokesman for the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission did not think so. A 2004 study on "foreign-born" citizens of Virginia alone concluded that Asians outnumbered Hispanics. The Commission found that these "foreign-born" citizens were not a huge drain on services. Rather, they contributed a lot to the State economy (Galuszka).
This extensive bias shown immigrants seemed out of pace with reality in the rest of the world (Galuszka, 2008). School links with foreign countries have been growing and increasing. Free trade agreements have been crossing national borders. Foreigners keep coming in to buy stocks in American companies. With these stark realities in globalization, such behavior and stigma ascribed to immigrants, especially those with dark akin, seemed out of place. In those places where the bias is high and immense, the local media do their part in repeating them and indoctrinating the public against aliens. Even though no convincing records support the bias, the media make it real and create the crisis (Galuszka).
A Total Failure
The Operation Scheduled Departure caused the ICE and its 16,000 employees $5 billion annual budget and a lot of face in admitting a failed responsibility (Navarrette Jr., 2008). It failed to attract more than 8 out of the targeted 457,000 illegal immigrants without criminal record in the 5 target cities to surrender to federal authorities for voluntary deportation. The failure owed in part because it targeted "fugitive aliens," people who appeared before the immigration judge and order to leave but had not complied. The other reason was the illusory image projected by the ICE that its agents roam the countryside and seek out violators. Many suspect not too many homes are really searched. At a rate of 30,000 fugitive alien arrests a year, it would take 400 years to exhaust the country of 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. Those who report about the presence of illegal immigrants mostly have to wait for them to pick these immigrants up yet the enforcers never appear the true reason behind the failure seemed more like the need for an overhaul of image after the September 11 fiasco...
Immigrant advocates faulted the ICE for the failure of the program and for causing much fear and apprehension among many illegal immigrants. The advocates viewed it as a mere publicity trick to justify the stricter enforcement of immigration law. They thought that law enforcers could deal with illegal immigrants more gently when arresting them at home. Those arrested need not be jailed but could just be made to weak ankle bracelets when preparing to depart. The program gave volunteers up to 90 days to leave the U.S. It was deemed to have been intended to counteract criticisms about the brutal and disruptive ways enforcers dealt with violators and their families. Those who volunteer to leave were barred from returning to the U.S. For a decade. Furthermore, it applied to less than half a million of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. It was available only to those who ignored judicial orders to live and had no criminal record. It was offered in 5 cities where 30,000 eligible immigrants lived. These were Charlotte in North Carolina, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego and Santa Ana (Taxin).
More Calls for Reform
Thousands more poured out downtown Oakland to demand legal status for undocumented immigrants and to end arrests made by ICE agents (Marcucci, 2007). If the crowd was smaller than that of the previous year, it was because of the arrests. There were only 5,000 to 6,000 marchers as against 15,000-17,000 the previous year. Those who did not join the rally could have been disappointed about the lack of a signed reform bill. The marchers came from San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa and other Bay area cities. A highlight of the day was the appearance of opponent groups from across the Bay area. They called for tougher and more secure borders. They claimed that illegal immigration strained social services and that the U.S. is still a country of laws. Those favoring immigration reform expressed hope that Congress would listen to them. as, in fact, Congress was considering the Security through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy or STRIVE bill. It would grant legal status to the immigrants but which immigrant advocates opposed with certain enforcement objections (Marcucci),
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