The Raiders might have gotten their butts kicked Sunday, but the biggest losers of the Super Bowl were nowhere near Qualcomm Stadium over the weekend. Those honors go to the dozens of foreign-born security guards and transportation workers in San Diego who were rounded up, detained, and thrown into deportation proceedings during the two weeks leading up to the game by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, an agency that makes Jon Gruden look tender and nurturing.
The sweep—”Operation Game Day”—targeted workers from the 25 countries on the Justice Department list of accused sponsors of terrorism (Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and so on), as well as Latin America. None of those arrested in the name of stadium security was suspected of terrorism. Some were undocumented workers, and others, though legal permanent residents, were subject to deportation because they have criminal records. The INS declined to comment on the effort, but one agency official (who declined to give his name) told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the operation was a “preventive measure” designed to make the Super Bowl “the safest event possible.” With that reasoning, rather than going after the laborers who keep San Diego running, the INS should have been deporting Raider fans.