During the early morning hours on Wednesday, ICE agents raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores across the nation and arrested 21 people.
The mission signaled the Trump administration’s intent to go after specific companies that are known to hire undocumented workers.
It’s also the latest in a growing list of deeply troubling and seemingly unconstitutional actions from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
An ideological leader
Thomas D. Homan, ICE’s Acting Director, a man who looks like a very large, living thumb, said after the 7-Eleven raids that this is a harbinger of things to come:
“Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce. ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”
The whole “ENFORCE THE LAW” thing is all well and good, well it’s not at all really, but obviously undocumented immigration has become a hot button issue in recent years.
And deportations aren’t anything new, the number of deportations reached record highs during the Obama administration, but the method of ICE’s tactics and the frothing rhetoric of their director, has put the agency in the spotlight of late.
I mean, look at this weirdo ranting about locking up United States mayors and governors of sanctuary cities or states. Homan went on the right-wing sanctuary network Fox News to babble about federal law and charging politicians with crimes because they won’t help him round up immigrants:
“That is a violation of 8 USC 1324. That’s an alien-smuggling statute. I’ve asked the Department of Justice to look at this,” Homan said. “Can we hold them accountable? Are they violating federal law?… We’ve got to take these sanctuary cities on. We’ve got to take them to court and we’ve got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”
Sanctuary cities allow undocumented immigrants to live in their cities without being targeted by federal immigration authorities.
I personally grew up in a sanctuary city, in New Haven, Connecticut, the idea that there is some horrifying crime being committed by a state or city by not rampantly deporting undocumented immigrants is total lunacy.
Breaking up families
It’s pretty clear that Homan and his crew of excitable, wholly underwhelming 35-year-old white dudes get extremely off by deporting black and brown immigrants, and the stories of the inhumanities committed by ICE since Trump took office are horrifying.
One particular thing that Trump and co. are currently jacked up about is “chain migration,” which just means “a family that is moving to the United States.”
In recent weeks, ICE and the Trump administration have begun breaking up detained families as well as removing certain Bush and Obama era protections for children detained by immigration services.
This includes a new memo that takes away old guidelines for how to treat detained children. Reuters reported on the memo:
“The new memo removes suggestions contained in the 2007 memo for how to conduct ‘child-sensitive questioning’ and adds reminders to judges to maintain ‘impartiality’ even though ‘juvenile cases may present sympathetic allegations.’ The new document also changes the word ‘child’ to ‘unmarried individual under the age of 18’ in many instances.”
Children are no longer “children” but “unmarried individuals under the age of 18.” That is some truly Orwellian shit used purely to dehumanize an actual person who is trying to live in this country.
Trump called chain migration (families) a “gateway for terrorism” while speaking with congressional republicans last week, which is just the dumbest shit.
Right before the new year, The New York Times reported that Trump and ICE have gotten together and brainstormed a fun little policy to begin separating detained families as a way to deter further immigration. From NYT:
“The Trump administration is considering a plan to separate parents from their children when families are caught entering the country illegally, according to officials who have been briefed on the plans. The forceful move is meant to discourage border crossings, but immigrant groups have denounced it as draconian and inhumane.”
This is just cruelty for cruelty’s sake. There’s no logical reason to tear apart families, many of which are fleeing gang violence, persecution, or civil war at home.
The idea that we’re trying to scare other people from coming to America is so asinine, most undocumented immigrants are coming to the United States as a last resort and we’re just responding by adding new horrors to their lives.
Deporting immigrants back to violence
For evidence of what undocumented immigrants are often leaving behind you don’t have to look very far. Take, for instance, the case of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, who was snatched from an Austin courtroom by ICE and sent back to Mexico last year.
Coronilla-Guerrero’s wife pleaded with a judge that he would be killed by the same gangs that had forced the family out of Mexico in the first place.
And that’s exactly what happened. ICE is deporting people to literal death sentences.
Lurking in courthouses
A new ICE tactic in the Trump administration is hawking courthouses and other detention centers in order to hound out undocumented immigrants.
This leads to wonderful, very American things like immediately detaining two men who had been cleared of wrongful murder convictions.
In December, Gabriel Solache and Arturo Reyes were cleared of murder charges after being held on life sentences since 1998 for the fatal stabbing of a couple.
When Solache and Reyes were cleared, instead of returning to freedom, they were immediately snatched up by ICE upon their release, according to Buzzfeed News.
Clearing the record of all wrongdoings
There have been many reports of violence or assault of detainees at the hands of ICE. Now, ICE is asking the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) to wipe out any record of “sexual assault, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody,” according to The ACLU.
More from the ACLU:
“ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs, regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities, and communications from the public reporting detention abuses. ICE proposed various timelines for the destruction of these records ranging from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for reports about solitary confinement.”
This seems like a totally normal thing for a government agency to do. WIPE THE RECORDS, NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!
Immigration is cool!… For some
We have no one to blame for this but ourselves, well those people who voted for Trump. When the country elected a proud, outspoken bigot based off xenophobic fear of black and brown people, we gave ICE this power.
And if you need any convincing that these policies are put in place with purely racial motivations, look no further than the recent story of Russian “birth tourism” in Southern Florida.
NBC reported that thousands of Russian women are flocking to Miami to give birth to a child that will then have dual citizenship. According to NBC, “In Moscow, it’s a status symbol to have a Miami-born baby, and social media is full of Russian women boasting of their little americantsy.”
A growing number of Russians are coming to the U.S. to give birth. These kids will have the right to live and work here, receive social services and, when they turn 21, will have the right to sponsor their parents for an American Green Card. Read more: https://t.co/4doKwLoChn pic.twitter.com/zUSom9ui1w
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 10, 2018
Ok, the phenomenon of Russian women having babies in Miami doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, until it turns out that MANY OF THESE PEOPLE ARE STAYING IN TRUMP HOTELS DAHHHHH.
From The Daily Beast:
“While Trump rails against U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, his Florida properties have become a playground for birth tourists from Russia’s upper crust. The Daily Beast has discovered several companies are advertising rentals in Trump properties to expectant Russian parents. While the Trump Organization does not directly profit from subleases of privately owned condos, it does benefit from Russian patronage of the nearby Trump International Beach Resort.”
So Trump’s crew of enforcers are splitting up Central American and African families and treating children as “under 18 terrorism modules” or whatever, but wealthy Russians who want to have American babies are staying in Trump properties.
Cool, got it.
Their message is clear: impoverished, undocumented immigrants fleeing violence are very bad; rich (white) Russian people are very, very good.
For all of the terror, bigotry, and total incompetence of the Trump administration, the power and complete impunity of ICE over the last year may be the most harrowing aspect of this government.