When the ICE agents left the house after they searched it, they left something behind. Fear.
For months after, I wondered if they had bugged our house. I waited until we were out of the house to discuss my husband's case, just in case. I especially disliked saying anything too personal in our bedroom because I felt as if someone were listening. I checked under the kitchen table to see if they had left a bug there. Does this sound crazy? At the time, it made sense to me.
When I left my office for lunch, I contemplated leaving by another door just in case police were waiting to arrest me. I had done nothing wrong but seeing how easily they could crash into our lives and leave wreckage behind, I felt none of us was safe. Does that sound crazy? At the time, it made sense to me.
When I was stopped for speeding, my hands shook as I talked to the police officer. When I pick up my kids at school and I see the police officer who hangs around there, I recoil. Seeing uniformed officers brings all the terror back to me; the anger, too.
Using my computer to type in my journal, I worried that the agents had installed a key logger on my computer and could see what I was typing, read my mind. They had access to all of our computers that morning and could have installed anything on it. Why did they leave mine behind for me? It isn't as if they were nice people. Does that sound crazy? At the time, it made sense to me.
I used to walk the dog early in the morning but stopped doing that. The idea of leaving my family behind in the house without me was frightening. If I were walking the dog, who would protect them against agents who invade the house again? The morning of the search, an agent had sat in his car on our street, watching our house; a neighbor had seen him and talked to him. The agent had watched me pick up the newspaper from my driveway. I still look up and down the street for unfamiliar cars when I get the newspaper.
Locking the doors and closing the blinds is still almost obsessive for me. The fear that someone could come into my house, that someone could even look into my windows is still there.
The agents ran through my house with their guns drawn. To get my husband to talk, they threatened to come back and take our children away.
This, and worse, much worse, happens every day across the country. The vast majority of crimes being investigated when law enforcement executes search warrants this way are for non-violent crimes. I cannot be the only person left with fear whispering in the back of my mind.