OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to Wednesday's raid on two Stillwater businesses by federal agents, the ACLU of Oklahoma released the following statement:
The following is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director:
“Our Federal government is spearheading a series of prolonged attacks on immigrant communities, using raids as a tactic to incite fear and further a political agenda steeped in xenophobia. As a result, immigrant communities live in a constant state of terror. As federal agents raided two locally owned businesses in Stillwater, undocumented Oklahomans, their families, friends, and allies, began to worry if this was just the start of an effort to attack their community. While we understand there may be rational reasons to keep details about an ongoing investigation from the public, U.S. Attorney Tim Downing should, at the very least, put to rest the uncertainty that reasonably grips a community in the wake of raids like the ones we witnessed on Wednesday.
In and beyond Stillwater, families continue to wake up scared to go to work, panicked about seeking medical treatment, and dreading the very real potential that their children could be left without their parents to pick them up at the end of the school day. The fear created in the aftermath of Wednesday’s actions means that communities are ultimately left unsafe while people are afraid to pick up the phone to call the police. If this is, as some community leaders are reporting, the work of an ongoing investigation entirely separate from immigration status, rather than the start of an anti-immigrant crackdown, U.S. Attorney Downing should make that crystal clear. Until then, he puts all of Stillwater, Payne County, and Oklahoma at risk as people feel increasingly forced to live in fear, rather than accessing necessary resources related to education, public health, and public safety. ”