Congress needs to investigate why taxpayers paid for what amounts to a campaign ad for Donald Trump
A lurid, inaccurate and racist propaganda video produced and disseminated by the U.S. Border Patrol epitomizes the fact that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has become an arm of the Trump re-election campaign. The politicization of DHS and its heavy-handed racism is an outrage that requires Congressional oversight.
As Nick Miroff recaps in the Washington Post:
A fictionalized video produced by the Border Patrol and posted this week to its YouTube channel shows a Spanish-speaking attacker stabbing and killing a man in a dark alley after escaping from U.S. agents, a clip apparently created to dramatize President Trump’s depiction of migrants as fearsome criminals.
… senior aides in his administration, including White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, have directed Homeland Security communications officials to highlight crimes committed by immigrants. An ample body of research shows that immigrants actually commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans.
After Jean Guerrero, author of the stunning new book on Stephen Miller titled, The Hatemonger, fact-checked the CBP video in The Daily Beast, it appears that the video was pulled down. But Guerrero, a keen observer of how DHS has evolved under Trump and Miller, minces no words:
Right-wing extremism is responsible for most extremist-related violence in this country, including more than 90 percent of attacks and plots this year. You would never know it from videos like Border Patrol’s or from listening to Trump officials such as acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who is supposed to protect Americans from extremism. Instead, Trump officials promote lies meant to stoke white fear. The blood is on all of their hands.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
When the Border Patrol produces a propaganda video that casts Latino immigrants as killers, it seems to be intended to further the campaign narrative of Donald Trump. It also may serve to encourage violent white nationalists. It’s deeply troubling that DHS has become so politicized. It’s even more alarming that DHS is promoting the false narratives that have inspired recent terrorist attacks aimed at Democratic leaders, Jewish members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and Mexican-Americans in El Paso.
Taxpayers pay for DHS, and its peddling of shockingly ugly and inaccurate propaganda cries out for investigation and accountability. They are supposed to work for the public, not for a divisive authoritarian. They are supposed to improve security not threaten it.
The current gang at DHS is out-of-control. It’s time for Congress to rein them in as soon as possible. And when a new administration takes power, it’s time for far-reaching structural, staffing and policy reforms.
For more on the lack of Border Patrol accountability, see this 2018 post by Ur Jaddou of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice, titled, Glaring Need for Robust Structures of Accountability and Hiring at CBP.