Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Horrific Tactics Of ICE and CBP Under Trump

If there is any group that combines the cruelty of the Republican party and the arrogance and abuses of the Trump administration, it would have to be ICE and CBP. Having been huge supporters of Trump during the campaign, they have acted like attack dogs let loose ever since Trump's inauguration.

When the initial Muslim ban was ruled unconstitutional, it appeared that CBP intentionally ignored that court order for a significant period of time. CBP officers were also instructed not to speak to the press or members of Congress. Even worse, they were also instructed to ignore calls from attorneys for individuals being detained or those trying to find information about those who might be detained. In addition, CBP monitored protests at airports and other ports of entry that followed Trump's announcement, including photographing the protesters and distributing those photos within the agency. As Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly eloquently put it, "They built a stone wall and gave us the middle finger. They feel they can do that with impunity because Trump’s in the White House and Sessions is at the Department of Justice, and they can behave outside the law or inside the law as they see fit."

CBP may be horrible but ICE is even worse. On Long Island, in response to Trump's PR push against MS-13, immigration officials are deporting children based on the flimsiest associations with the gang and based on questionable evidence from school officials. Many of those picked up by ICE had been suspended from school, indicating that school officials are complicit in facilitating a school-to-deportation pipeline. One high school girl was detained by immigration officers for a month simply because she had spoken to suspected gang members at school. ICE agents have picked up other students and accused them of gang membership based on the clothes they were wearing, who they spoke to, or whether another family member was in the gang. One student was suspended from school and detained by ICE because he drew bull horns, the symbol of the MS-13 gang, on a calculator. The mascot of the high school he attended, however, is a Blue Devil making it entirely plausible the drawing was actually in school spirit.

As if detaining children who have committed no crime isn't bad enough, ICE is apparently also using children as bait in order to detain their parents. In Connecticut, a undocumented child was turned over to his undocumented father over a year ago on the condition that the child report to ICE on a regular basis. The father, who did not have a criminal record and was gainfully employed as a mason, was recently summoned to Hartford to sign papers for his son where he was immediately arrested and detained for deportation. According to a Connecticut immigration lawyer, "My colleagues and I have been witnessing these deceptive practices for the last couple of months. This new practice of luring parents with the sole purpose of tearing them apart from their children is the most despicable and inhumane practice we have witnessed".

Despicable tactics using children is probably a new low for ICE. The prior low may have been when they detained an undocumented woman who had appeared in court to get protection from her abusive boyfriend. What was even more disgusting about this case is that the tip that led ICE to detain the woman apparently came from the boyfriend, essentially making ICE complicit in the domestic abuse.

ICE and CBP are really so horrible it is hard not to succumb to Godwin's law. But they are merely a reflection of the insanity of the Republican and Trump attitude toward immigration. We are wasting money and resources to break up families and deport immigrants who are actually employed and contributing to our economy while allowing companies to bring in cheaper foreign workers by using and abusing the H1B and H2B visa programs. But logical consistency has never been a Republican strength.

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