Last month, federal agents detained 16 local men from Saratoga Springs. Of the 16, 9 (56% of those plucked out of the city in broad daylight) face immigration-related charges. To the best of our knowledge, none of the men detained were suspected of any other wrongdoing in our community, and our local law enforcement was not involved in the operation.
Saratoga Springs relies on the hospitality and racing industries to power our local economy. These industries are seasonal and rely on an influx of seasonal labor, much of which is made up of immigrants to the United States. Even as these workers try to build a better life for themselves and their families, forces outside our community threaten their ability to integrate and thrive. The Democratic Party has long advocated comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our nation’s broken immigration system and prioritizes enforcement so that we are targeting criminals – not those working without incident in our communities trying to achieve the American dream.
The Saratoga County Democratic party firmly opposes federal agencies detaining local workers with no input from local law enforcement or evidence of malicious activity. Workers that fear for their status are less likely to report crimes or other valuable information to local police, engage in civic activities, and may, if the environment is too threatening, not show up at all – costing our county the labor pool it needs to provide the hospitality it is known for internationally. These hard-working men and women should not suffer for Congress’ inability to pass comprehensive immigration legislation or the White House’s fear-mongering tactics to distract the electorate from more pressing issues.