Immigration Family Values
Right around the time immigration officials in North Carolina last month were pulling off a deceptive sting -- demanding Latino workers go to a fake "mandatory" health and safety class, which ended up being a deportation trap -- Arkansas was carrying off a controversial immigrant round-up of its own (via Think Progress):
Late last month, federal agents arrested 119 undocumented workers employed at a poultry plant in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. One hundred and fifteen were from Mexico. About 30 of their children - some as young as 3 months old - were abandoned after all but twelve of the workers were deported from the United States.
The raid drew harsh criticism from the town's sheriff and mayor, and even conservative Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a Baptist preacher, who objected to the families being unnecessarily divided:
Huckabee said it appears the arrests of 119 workers at the plant were terribly planned and that federal agents gave little thought to the consequences for children of those arrested. ... Huckabee has joined Hispanic civil rights leaders to ensure the well-being of the children.
And what does Huckabee get for his trouble? Apparently a bunch of hate calls. Days after the raid, an Arkansas TV station suggested the governor could be "risking his political future by speaking out against a recent immigration raid", noting that Huckabee "says calls to his office have been 'about 1,000 to one' against his position":
The governor says many of the callers are angry and use profanity. He says immigration is a very emotional issue and people become irrational over it.
Apparently some right-wingers aren't so concerned with family values when the families are Mexican.
Chris Kromm is executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and publisher of the Institute's online magazine, Facing South.