Immigration Raids Are Bad for Legal Americans

Dickinson College professor (and occasional Reason contributor) Crispin Sartwell has a stunning piece in the Wall Street Journal about the ways in which anti-immmigration actions are killing small-town America in the name of preserving, what, the rule of law? Ethnic solidarity? An America that never existed?

The sad truth is, at least in many parts of the old industrial and agricultural East, immigrants are rehabbing places that native-born Americans deserted decades ago. Whether legal or not, these transplants don’t pose any sort of public menace, so clearly law enforcement should have better things to do.

Writing from York Springs, Pennsylvania (official population: 800 and 46 percent Hispanic), Sartwell notes:

York Springs in recent years has developed a vibrant, intersectional culture, insofar as that’s possible in such a sparsely populated place. Almost anyone might hire Renta Fiestas for a party. There was, until recently, even street life of sorts popping up: a Mexican food truck, children playing fútbol, the occasional interethnic teen couple holding hands at Griest Park…

There were at least 15 actions in York Springs during February and March, with many more since, including street arrests and traffic stops that have resulted in detentions. People are held at the prison in the city of York, 25 miles down the road, and the phrase “they took her to York” has become the expression for someone who’s been taken into the immigration system….

York Springs is in Adams County, where apple-growing, picking, and processing dominates the local economy so much that a nearby high school’s teams are called “The Canners.” The workers who serve this economy are overwhelmingly Hispanic but this is Trump Country, with the current president carrying 66 percent of the vote. And yet, observes Sartwell,

By Nick Gillespie for
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