In New Orleans, federal agents are raiding homes and businesses to find and deport undocumented immigrants as part of a new program called the Criminal Alien Removal Initiative (CARI). In addition to the raids and arrests, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents also scan the fingerprints of individuals they stop, even without clear evidence of a crime. Though ICE says it's focused on apprehending dangerous criminals, activists say CARI is closer to New York City's infamous "stop-and-frisk" program—and it's tearing immigrant families apart: The raids have created "a terrifying effect," said Jacinta Gonzalez, an organizer with the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, which authored a December report exposing the program. “We haven’t seen raids with this magnitude, this intensity and this technology in other parts of the country.”…. The Workers' Center wants to know why so many innocent individuals are handcuffed and fingerprinted in the first place. “This is exactly what the Constitution prohibits,” said J.J. Rosenbaum, a lawyer for the center.The number of raids briefly decreased in November after protesters blocked rush hour traffic for three hours outside of the New Orleans ICE headquarters. However, Gonzales reports that they've since resumed in earnest. Recently, ICE officials arrested a pregnant woman with no criminal record after she called the police to report that her car had been burglarized.
Sarah Berlin is an intern at In These Times.