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As we have been reporting with disturbing frequency, the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement is out of control. “Unshackled” by President Trump, Jeff Sessions and their GOP Congressional enablers, ICE and CBP have become unaccountable and politicized police forces that are trampling on American values and separating American families.
ICE arrests of non-criminals surged 171% last year, separating families and sowing fear. Meanwhile, the agencies are engaging in political retaliation against states and local jurisdictions that stand up for immigrants and public safety as well as activists that dare criticize them. It’s little wonder that the Trump/Sessions lawsuit against California corresponds with a surge in raids and aggressive “gloves off” actions throughout the state. As ICE head Thomas Homan said, California should “hold on tight.”
Below are reminders — just from the past few days — of the way Trump’s deportation force is showing up across America:
Video captures Border Patrol ripping a Southern California mother away from her screaming daughters on a California street corner.
Adolfo Flores at Buzzfeed writes (with links to the disturbing video):
“US Border Patrol agents detained an undocumented mother in front of her screaming children on a Southern California street last week in an arrest that was captured on video and viewed millions of times online. The footage, posted Thursday on Facebook, shows Perla Morales-Luna being pushed into a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) vehicle in National City, California, while her daughters cry out in protest. As of Thursday night it has received more than 7 million views.
…In one of the videos, a young woman is seen trying to pull Morales-Luna away from the Border Patrol officers. Her daughters are later seen sobbing as they watch their mother being pushed into the vehicle at an intersection. The video shows at least two Border Patrol agents in green uniform and one plainclothes officer.
“Mom!” one of her daughters screams. “Where is she going?” Moments later the van takes off and a man approaches the girls asking if they’re alone and if there’s any family they can call.”
TIME magazine’s new cover story, titled, “Ripped Apart: The Cost of America’s Immigration Crackdown” (see cover image here).
“…[T]he new policy doesn’t affect only those who are in the country illegally. It upends a broad swath of American society, including the communities and families of undocumented people, many of whom are U.S. citizens. More than 4 million American kids under the age of 18 have at least one undocumented parent, and nearly 6 million live in so-called mixed-status households, sharing bedrooms with family members, like brothers and sisters, who are now targets for arrest. Every year, tens of thousands of American kids see at least one parent deported, according to the Urban Institute. It’s an experience that, studies show, pushes families into poverty and leads to higher rates of PTSD and struggles at school.
For Maria and her daughters, the fear has only begun. Like Alejandro, Maria is undocumented; all three of their daughters are U.S. citizens. Which means every day contains the prospect of the children becoming separated from their mother as well.”
The piece details the story of the Perozin family of Marlborough, MA — another heartbreaking example of a family set to be split apart for no good reason:
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, in this, the latest installment of Making America Great Again By Destroying American Families One at a Time, I give you the Perozin family of Marlborough. Mauricio Perozin is a hard-working family man, with a wife and two kids, which makes him just the kind of easy pickings that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents like to throw out of the country.
Because, let’s face it, why would federal agents waste their limited resources locking up real criminals with real guns when they can go after a guy like Mauricio Perozin, who works at a car dealership, serves as a deacon at his church, supports his family, pays his taxes, and, best of all, doesn’t carry a gun and doesn’t pose a threat to anyone in the employ of the government? …An ICE statement on Thursday insisted Perozin had been afforded full legal process in his case.
So, let’s recap: ICE is going to deport a man who is the main breadwinner for a family whose American-born children will be forced to go on public assistance, and might even become homeless, even though he is eligible for and has applied to become a legal resident.
Does that make any sense to you? Does that have any moral currency with you? This government, our government, is going to needlessly split up a family, needlessly make them destitute, and needlessly force the father to leave the United States for a country he hasn’t called home in some 20 years simply because it can. Now, ain’t that America?”
In another example of retaliation against activists, DC-area advocate Alejandra Pablos has been detained after a routine check-in with ICE in Arizona.
Jorge Rivas writes in Splinter:
“Immigrant rights and reproductive justice activist Alejandra Pablos was reportedly detained by immigration officials on Wednesday during a routine check-in with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Pablos has been attending the regularly scheduled ICE check-ins about every three months since 2013 without any issues. But on Wednesday, ICE officials in Tucson, AZ, arrested Pablos and took her into custody, according to local immigrant rights activists.”
More headlines from across America capture local families being split apart
Star Tribune (Minneapolis): “Ahead of ICE meeting Friday, Augsburg Professor Braces for Possible Deportation”
New Hampshire Public Radio: “Facing Deportation Threat, This New Hampshire Family Is Looking For Answers”
Military Times: “More Military Families Come Forward with Deportation Fears”
Fox 4 Kansas City: “Local Bar Owner Outraged Over His Wife’s Deportation”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Americans need to know that these are public officials operating in our name and funded by our taxes. Instead of acting in the public interest, using public resources judiciously and targeting those who are the greatest threat to public safety, ICE and CBP are intentionally seeking to terrorize and bully those who cross them. Armed agents of the state are given authority and weapons to serve the nation, but ICE and CBP seem to see themselves as shock troops loyal only to Trump and his radical assault on immigrant families. Ripping apart families for no good reason? Targeting states and local jurisdictions because they have enacted policies that welcome immigrants and improve public safety? This is wrong. This is un-American. And someday, and sooner rather than later, this has to stop.