In his latest column for HuffPost, America’s Voice Communications Manager and DACA-recipient Juan Escalante calls out President Trump for holding a ceremony to celebrate the men and women who have willingly separated thousands of families and for refusing to hold Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accountable.
Escalante’s piece is excerpted below and available in full here.
There’s something truly sinister about holding an award ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of people with a known history of human rights abuses and corruption. But that’s precisely what our president did earlier this week.
In an effort to prop up the men and women of his deportation force, Donald Trump held a pep rally in the White House for active personnel from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection on Monday.
As one would expect, Trump sang all kinds of praises to the agents of both agencies and wasted no time in morphing his phony award ceremony into a campaign rally, where he lambasted critics of either agency, saying “extremists who attack ICE and CBC like to portray themselves as champions of social justice.”
Yes, the president of the United States ― a person whose role and powers are vast and unique ― used his platform to attack and demean concerned citizens, residents and individuals in this country for expressing distrust in a law enforcement agency. It’s embarrassing and insulting that the American people’s opinions on the matter are being ridiculed ― and at a White House event, no less.
More important, missing from Trump’s remarks were the hideous and horrible atrocities that ICE and CBP have committed over the years. Instead, the president pledged to secure the “resources, the tools, and the authorities you need to do your job, and do it properly and do it strong” while glossing over the two agencies’ dark histories. In the year and a half Trump has been commander in chief, ICE and CBP have:
Entered homes to detain immigrants without presenting a warrant.
Detained immigrant parents in broad daylight as they dropped their children off at school.
Lied on official documentation to try to frame a Dreamer as a gang member.
Continue to hold young migrant children in detention away from their parents.
And this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of how ICE and CBP have enjoyed their newfound freedom under the Trump administration.
The only thing we’ll achieve by handing out hollow awards and recognition to federal agents ― who are left unsupervised by the commander in chief and his Republican friends in Congress ― is the continued erosion of trust between minorities and law enforcement agencies. And that is not an America anyone should be proud of.