A story today in The Intercept reveals that a security contractor for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took the time to meticulously catalog a series of protests against the President’s family separation policy and report those protests preemptively to all DHS staffers and law enforcement across the country. The events – 300 community-based rallies in March 2018 – were simply first amendment free speech exercises against the President’s strategy to deter asylum seekers asking for our help and protection at the border by taking children from their parents with no plan or system to reunite them. It fits a broader pattern of surveillance of advocates, reporters and lawyers who see migrants as something other than “invaders” or “criminals,” which is the President’s point of view.
The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin (@douglasrivlin), Communication Director at America’s Voice:
You would think the GOP would be shaking with outrage as Trump unleashes Big Brother to spy on Americans, threatening our freedom of speech and assembly. Sadly, Republicans appear to be curled up silently next to their leader. Trump is using law enforcement to monitor anyone he views as an opponent. The Trump administration couldn’t keep track of the kids they separated from their parents, but apparently they don’t have any problems using government resources to track activists, journalists and free speech events. The American people reacted enormously and negatively to Trump’s cruel policy of taking children from their parents and locking them away. Ever since, Stephen Miller, Homeland Security and President Trump have been trying to spin it or deny that their policy of family separation ever happened. But the rallies last year and the public outcry that continues today are all part of the great American tradition of free speech and lawful assembly enshrined in the Constitution. America is standing up to the leader of a free nation to express their point of view and say enough is enough. Recent revelations about tracking protests, detaining advocates for political retribution or compiling watch lists of lawyers, activists and journalists make it clear how obsessed the President is with immigration and the lengths he will go to to impose his anti-immigration vision on the country.