Monday, February 12, 2018

Putting Them On ICE

The Trump regime continues its reign of terror towards the immigrant community in the US as the number of ICE non-criminal deportation arrests since Trump took office now number well into the tens of thousands.

A week after he won the election, President Trump promised that his administration would round up millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers. And after he took office, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers surged 40 percent.

Officials at the agency commonly known as ICE praise Trump for putting teeth back into immigration enforcement, and they say their agency continues to prioritize national security threats and violent criminals, much as the Obama administration did.

But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions. The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records.

Critics say ICE is increasingly grabbing at the lowest-hanging fruit of deportation-eligible immigrants to meet the president’s unrealistic goals, replacing a targeted system with a scattershot approach aimed at boosting the agency’s enforcement statistics.

ICE has not carried out mass roundups or major workplace raids under Trump, but nearly every week brings a contentious new arrest

The Washington Post noticed that too.  If ICE really wanted the maximum number of deportees, they would start with raiding workplaces.  They don't do that.  It's a bug, not a feature.  They look the other way on migrant farms and meat-packing plants because they are told to do so, so they target individuals instead.

We do hear stories of long-time residents of this country being rolled up by ICE and held for immediate deportation proceedings, mothers, doctors, respected businessmen, community figures, and activists.  But we're now going on 40,000 such arrests and there are so many stories that we'll never hear. 

A Virginia mother was sent back to El Salvador in June after her 11 years in the United States unraveled because of a traffic stop. A Connecticut man with an American-born wife and children and no criminal record was deported to Guatemala last week. And an immigration activist in New York, Ravi Ragbir, was detained in January in a case that brought ICE a scathing rebukefrom a federal judge.

It ought not to be — and it has never before been — that those who have lived without incident in this country for years are subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust,” said U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest, reading her opinion in court before ordering ICE to release Ragbir.

“We are not that country,” she said

All apologies Judge Forrest, but we are very much "this country", a country that gave into hatred and bigotry like it has time and time again over its 400 year history as a colony and country, a country founded on slavery and pain, a country that elected a racist, white supremacist demagogue.

Yet again.

Immigrants whose only crime was living in the country illegally were largely left alone during the latter years of the Obama administration. But that policy has been scrapped.

Those facing deportation who show up for periodic “check-ins” with ICE to appeal for more time in the United States can no longer be confident that good behavior will spare them from detention. Once-routine appointments now can end with the immigrants in handcuffs.

More broadly, the Trump administration has given street-level ICE officers and field directors greater latitude to determine whom they arrest and under what conditions, breaking with the more selective enforcement approach of President Barack Obama’s second term.

Trump officials have likened this to taking “the shackles off,” and they say morale at ICE is up because its officers have regained the authority to detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.

Officers are detaining suspects in courthouses more often, and ICE teams no longer shy from taking additional people into custody when they knock on doors to arrest a targeted person.

What are we supposed to do?” said Matthew Albence, the top official in the agency’s immigration enforcement division, who described the administration’s goal as simply restoring the rule of law. If ICE fails to uphold its duties to enforce immigration laws, he added, “then the system has no integrity.”

Small government, non-intrusive federalism, "drown it in a bathtub" types sure like ICE, don't they?  Republicans sure like government's jackbooted thugs when they are doing their bidding to rid the country of those deemed undesirable.

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