There is an excellent series of articles at The Catholic Key concerning a recent “tavern check” in Kansas City. For those unfamiliar, a tavern check is when police visit a night spot and check IDs to make sure there are not under-age drinkers, etc.. Last week a large group of officers conducted a tavern check at Club Oasis, a local bar that’s had a disproportionate amount of criminal activity associated with it. So on the basis of that, it’s good and important police work that should be saluted and supported. In fact, there were several arrests made for drug and weapon possession and other issues. However…
Entering with the KCPD were officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If this was a “tavern check,” why was ICE involved? There was certainly no question that when they raided a bar in a heavily Latino part of the city, they would have “probably cause” to expect to find “undocumented patrons.” But according to KCPD, that’s not why they were there. Yet, they held the patrons there, some as long as five hours, and issued instructions for some 100 people to appear later at an immigration office. At the end of the evening, there were 8 non-immigration related arrests and over 100 immigration related issues.
Illegal immigration is a serious and complex issue and I certainly don’t pretend to have the answers. Politically I am conservative, perhaps even libertarian in some areas and this particular raid raises many questions and concerns. Should we assume that ICE is expanding its enforcement efforts from the workplace to include obvious places of congregation of illegals? Should Catholic Latinos be afraid to go to parishes on the West Side? Will Masses at other parishes celebrated in Spanish be targeted? Is this going to be a policy of ICE around the US? Are we going to limit the efforts to Latinos simply because they are easier to find? Are we going to start raiding mosques as well looking for some of the over 150,000 illegal Muslims? There are supposedly up to 75,000 illegal Canadians in the US. Are we going to start raiding hockey games?
Seriously though, nearly every big problem starts small. It grows by being ignored because it’s seen as small. Taxes didn’t start at their current levels, they used to be tiny. Our debt didn’t start in the trillions. The Nazis started by quietly rounding up small groups and dissenters and eventually worked their way around to the Holocaust. No, I’m not equating our government to Nazi Germany. My point is simply that the time to ask questions is now, not when you’re being asked for your papers at church or a sporting event.
Again, in no way do I want to be critical of the excellent police work that was done at Club Oasis by KCPD. But I am concerned about where this is going. The fact that the authorities continue to downplay ICE’s role in this, even though it was over 90% of the activity is troubling. Just be honest and call it an immigration raid. According to a Syracuse University study, raids by ICE are up dramatically under the Obama administration. And if raids like this are going to continue to be the policy of ICE, let us know so that they can become part of the public debate.
I’m also concerned that the rest of local KC media is strangely silent.
Do they seriously not see any issues (this is possible since all the experienced editors have long ago lost their jobs) or is there a political agenda in-play since this happened a week before the election?
Kudos to The Catholic Key for staying on this story. Like their expose of the Bodies Revealed exhibit, they are providing a valuable service to more than just the Catholic community.