Immigration Crackdown in Our Backyard

Raids to arrests, the immigration crackdown is a reality all over the country.

Oct. 5, 2007 — -- The issue of immigration has moved from a war of words in Washington to an explosive, countrywide battle as average citizens fight to enforce laws with an iron fist.

It's a crackdown on illegal immigration.

In Irving,Texas, for example, the immigration debate is blasting onto the streets. "Obey the laws of this country," protesters shout. "We are Americans!"

Residents are suddenly finding that their neighborhoods are a battleground.

"That is a bunch of bull over there that we even allow them to march on our land when they are here illegally," said Dorothy Shields, an Irving resident and anti-immigration activist.

"It's political dynamite — people are saying we've had enough, we just can't take it anymore and if the federal government doesn't get serious about it we're going to do the jobs ourselves," Dan Stein said.

But lately, the government has been trying to prove it can get serious, by putting immigration enforcement into overdrive.

In a staggering sweep in California, 1,300 illegal immigrants have been arrested. Last week, federal agents in Nevada raided 11 McDonald's restaurants as part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants. In New York's Nassau County, armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials raided homes in the middle of the night in search of gang members and fugitives.

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff admits that raids aren't the perfect solution, but that they are a reality right now.

"I think we have an obligation to use the tools that we do have at least to achieve what the law currently requires," Chertoff said.

But in Irving, like many places around the country, residents aren't willing to wait for government intervention. Police are turning over any arrested illegals to the feds.

Latino parents have grown so nervous, they are keeping their kids out of schools.

"We are just scared of going out, just because you look Hispanic they pull you over," Irving student Crystal Chacon said.

One man from Virginia said he was so frightened about being rounded up in Virginia, where governments are threatening action, that he would only talk to ABC News anonymously.

"What breaks my heart," he said, "is when my 6-year-old daughter comes home and asks why do they hate us."

Watch "Good Morning America," Monday, when Diane Sawyer will be live in Mexico with more on the immigration debate.

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