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Madeleine Albright Encapsulates Trump’s Week of Cruelty: “One of the Most Un-American Things I’ve Heard”

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Trump and His Enablers Running Over American Values, Freedom and History

In response to the Trump public charge rule – an effort to radically reshape American immigration along lines of race and wealth – and Ken Cuccinelli’s already infamous mischaracterization of the Emma Lazarus poem and America’s immigration tradition, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said during an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN this week:

“I’ve been a refugee twice, once from the Nazis and we were in England, and then we came to the United States when the communists took over in Czechoslovakia. And I think that it is one of the most un-American things I’ve ever heard.” Albright also said, “I think the Statue of Liberty is weeping,” noting that she will “always remember” seeing the Statue of Liberty when she first arrived in the United States and stating, “We are forgetting that great history of our country.”

As we highlight below, Albright’s comments encapsulate a week in which the Trump administration’s immigration policy radicalism, cruelty, and intent to fan the flames of xenophobia were on display. What they continue to advance and embrace is flat-out un-American:

Los Angeles Times editorial: Cuccinelli depiction of U.S. immigration “flies in face of the American dream as well as the American experience.” 

A powerful LA Times editorial notes of Cuccinelli’s comments: “Legions of families have stories about their ancestors who arrived with only a few bucks in their pocket and a dream of making something of themselves. Then a business got built, or a career was pursued, and roots were set into American soil, giving rise to what we are today. Romanticized fantasy? In some cases, yes. But it happened often enough to become an inextricable part of our national sense of self. And neither Cuccinelli nor Trump can rewrite that.” As the Associated Press wrote this week of the announced rule, “The Trump administration is on a course to remake the face of immigration in America in ways that would turn it whiter and wealthier.”

In the Washington Post, Rachel Hatzipanagos writes Even before the El Paso mass shooting, Latinos said Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric made them feel unsafe,” including detailed comments from America’s Voice’s Texas director and longtime El Paso resident Mario Carrillo:

“‘I don’t think I’ve felt less welcome as an immigrant to this country than I have in the last three years,’ said Carrillo, now 34 and a naturalized U.S. citizen. His wife is a DACA recipient, one of the undocumented ‘dreamers’ brought to the United States as children, and he said he lives in ‘constant fear’ of her being detained or deported. In his advocacy work, the undocumented immigrants he works with are all experiencing the same thing 

… ‘I think the climate for Latinos right now is very dangerous, and I think it really starts at the top with the president’s rhetoric,’ Carrillo said. ‘I’m very well aware that racism against Latinos didn’t start with Donald Trump, but when the president of the United States not only enables prejudice, but encourages it, it makes for a dangerous environment.’”

Hamed Aleaziz in BuzzFeed, ICE Is Detaining Thousands Of Immigrants Who Have Passed A Test Showing Fear Of Persecution Or Torture.”  

Aleaziz writes, “Nearly 9,000 immigrants detained by federal immigration authorities have passed an initial government test demonstrating well-founded fears that if they are deported to their home countries they will face persecution … One former ICE official told BuzzFeed News that the numbers were concerning. ‘This number is highly problematic given the extremely high population in detention,’ the former official said. ‘ICE should be strategically using detention resources and focusing on those who need to be detained. The cost alone for this population is over $1 million a day with the current bed rate.’”

Rhode Island Corrections Officer at Private Prison Drives into ICE Protesters

Another act of violence surrounding immigration occurred this week as well. As Julia Reinstein writes in BuzzFeed, “Several people were injured Wednesday night when a guard at a Rhode Island prison that works with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement drove a truck through a crowd of Jewish protesters, organizers said … Just before 10 p.m. ET, a man in a prison guard uniform pulled up his truck right in front of the protesters and honked his horn, video of the incident shows. He briefly stopped, and the organizers surrounded the car, chanting, ‘Shame!!’ Then the man accelerated, driving the car straight through the protesters, many of whom screamed and jumped out of the way. 

‘He very clearly and deliberately drove a truck into a line of demonstrators,’ Aaron Regunberg, an organizer with the group and a former Rhode Island state representative, told BuzzFeed News … ‘For all we know, he’s there now, working with complete unaccountable authority over immigrant detainees,’ he said. ‘If they’re willing to do that to us, we can’t imagine the violence the ICE detainees behind those walls may be subject to every day.’”