A student asked me this question the other day. The raid in question took place in the small farming community of Postville, Iowa. When a similar raid took place in Marshalltown, Iowa, some US citizens were taken to Texas because they were suspected of being illegal immigrants. Then, when it was proven that they were legal, the citizens were told that it was their responsibility to get back to Iowa somehow. So, these people work in jobs that no US citizens want to do for wages that go to support their families and they are transported by the US Government half-way across the country and told that it was their responsibility to get back to Iowa somehow, as though it was their fault they were taken in there in the first place? This is justice?
I guess we can take solace that the Government has set up shop in Waterloo, Iowa and only transported them there. But, imagine if you were stopped by some government official that accused you of being an illegal immigrant. What would you do to "prove" your status? Driver's license? Any college kid can tell you those can be faked. That doesn't prove anything. Tell them your social security number? Nope. You made it up. It's a forgery. What else can we do? Speak to them in my Midwestern accent? Say I'm going to "woirsh" the car?
The easy thing to do in these situations is turn people into "those people." Make them into the other. The hard thing to do is to see them as one with us, one like us. That could be me. And what would I do? What would you do?