"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Friday, March 31, 2017

Today's Must-Read: Behind the Smoke and Chaos

This article from Salon, on one of Trump's policies that is very quietly being implemented full-speed-ahead-and-damn-the-torpedoes:
With all the hoopla over the current administration’s relationship with Russia and the health care Dumpster fire, we haven’t been paying as much attention to the Trump policy that seems to be going great guns: the deportation and detention of foreign nationals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. For all of President Trump’s failures on other matters, this one is succeeding briskly. That is, if you define success as ICE striking terror in immigrant communities all over the country.

On Monday Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally announced that the Trump administration is implementing its plan to use federal funds to crack down on “sanctuary cities” and states that choose to not comply with federal immigration laws. The Justice Department believes that local officials should be required to determine the immigration status of anyone they detain (or interact with), and if that person cannot provide proof of citizenship, he or she should be turned over to ICE. The plan calls for the federal government to withhold certain funds from any of the 200 different municipalities that have been designated as sanctuary cities.

Trump and Sessions are both hard-core demagogues on the issue of immigration, spreading fear and paranoia that undocumented immigrants are dangerous people who have contributed to a crime wave, despite lots of evidence to the contrary. Local officials in most of these cities, including the police, understand that this actually makes their jobs harder and their communities less safe, as many people will simply refuse to report crimes or bear witness for fear of being turned over to federal agents. Essentially, the federal government now has policies that threaten to turn America’s cities into the frightening dystopias that Trump already says they are. People, unsurprisingly, would prefer to have their communities prosperous and safe.

It's pretty depressing, in a TSA Unchained sort of way. This illustrates what I mean by that:
The New York Times reported last month that new orders from the Trump administration have granted ICE and the border patrol much more freedom to detain and deport people. These officials apparently felt very restrained by the rules in force during the Obama administration, which required them to focus their attention on undocumented immigrants with a record of serious felonies. Today they have the mandate to deport people even with minor infractions: As press secretary Sean Spicer put it, agents have been told to “take the shackles off.” A spokesman for ICE’s union told the Times that “morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders.” The Times further noted:
Two officials in Washington said that the shift — and the new enthusiasm that has come with it — seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.
(Emphasis added.)

If that makes you wonder what kind of people are eager to become ICE agents -- well, it should.

Read it all.

(Via Digby, who, as it happens, is the author of the piece.)

1 comment:

Pieter said...

"For even minor infractions of the law" translates thus: A DACA enrollee, brought here as a child of five, is cited for his first DUI at the age of 27. ICE picks him up at the courthouse, throws him into the slammer, releases him twenty days later only because he retained a lawyer who sued the government, and is currently awaiting (as verb of choice in government circles) deportation as a criminal. "Criminal record" consists of one DUI. He has a wife and small children, is not fully bi-lingual, has no connection with Mexico beyond heritage. But he's a "criminal" and must be deported. Every day, in every way, the Republicans reveal themselves to be cold, mean-spirited, small-hearted, tight-fisted ideologues with no human compassion, common sense, or any other redeeming qualities. The party deserves extirpation.