By Doug Porter
In a meeting with corporate executives this morning, President Donald Trump took time out to extol the virtues of his administration’s immigration policies, saying his effort to ramp up deportations is a “military operation” aimed at ridding the U.S. of “really bad dudes.”
The reality of what’s happening is divorced from the administration’s portrayals. Mexican authorities say they’ve seen no increase in deportations. What has increased are public relations efforts to justify the new policies.
Locally, the suicide of Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, less than an hour after he was deported has impacted the immigrant community. The 45-year-old Mexican citizen jumped to his death from a pedestrian bridge spanning the border in San Ysidro.
Agents Behaving Badly
There are also accounts indicating overzealous government agents are behaving badly, a sign they feel free to do as they wish.
**Passengers on an arriving domestic Delta airlines flight were required by Customs officers to show identification prior to getting off the plane at JFK airport in New York.
My flight from SFO to JFK. We were told we couldn’t disembark without showing our “documents.” pic.twitter.com/9ugQspTqeX
— Anne Garrett (@annediego) February 23, 2017
** Having been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and while awaiting surgery at Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, a Salvadoran national identified only as Sara was taken to Prairieland Detention Center against her will, according to her lawyers.
**U.S. Immigration agents arrested and deported Garcia de Rayos after she arrived at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix Feb. 8 for a mandatory check-in. She had been doing yearly or biyearly reports to the ICE office since 2008, after her arrest and conviction for giving a fake Social Security number to an employer.
**23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina was apprehended at his father’s home in Seattle after officials arrived to arrest his father, for whom they had a warrant to arrest, according to court documents. Medina was alleged to be involved with gang activities according to agents. Documents supporting this claim were later found to have been altered.
The recently released Department of Homeland Security guidelines vastly increased the number of immigrants who are considered priorities for deportation, expanding the definition of ‘criminal’ to include traffic violations.
Despite President Trump’s claim about a military operation in progress, the armed forces are not involved in immigration enforcement. (Yet!) Mexico is balking at a policy decision to dump arrestees over the border, regardless of their origin.
These memos suggest DHS under Trump views illegal immigration as principally an issue of border crossings from people who live in countries south of the U.S. The memorandums call for the hiring of 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and require all federal agencies to track any spending of U.S. dollars that benefit Mexico. (Trump could highlight any such spending in his campaign to get Mexico to pay for a border wall.) And they direct immigration enforcement authorities to send people crossing the border back to Mexico — even if they aren’t Mexicans.
This is an outdated view of the nation’s immigration challenges. While Mexicans represent about 52 percent of the undocumented population, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico has declined from 6.9 million in 2007 to about 5.8 million as of 2014. A rising share of undocumented immigrants, particularly those who came to the U.S. recently, are from Central America and Asia, and many did not cross the Mexican border to get here. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security, more than half a million people entered the country legally in the 2015 fiscal year and then overstayed their visas. The largest share of them came from Europe, Canada and South America.
So the memos are a polite way of saying the real problem the Trump administrations has is people of color.
Congressional Workshop Draws Overflow Crowd
Republicans are not the only ones seeing big crowds at town halls during this week’s congressional recess.
Democratic members of Congress Susan Davis and Scott Peters spoke to a crowd of over 700 people on Wednesday night at Liberty Station.
From NBC 7:
The town hall, dubbed “Don’t Agonize, Galvanize”, offered voters a tutorial on sharing their thoughts on social media, participating in demonstrations and other grassroots opportunities to influence Washington leadership.
Top of mind issues at the town hall was immigration and the Affordable Care Act.
“Healthcare is a fundamental human right,” one participant proclaimed.
‘Union Bosses’ and ‘Capitalist Pigs’ in the News
Meanwhile, Voice of San Diego’s Morning Report suggests this week’s town hall in Vista somehow wasn’t grassroots enough because they solicited support from sympathetic organizations like (gasp!) unions.
Holding a meeting this big isn’t cheap (nor was buying a full-page ad asking Issa to come); our reporting shows the event was organized and funded by unions and health care advocacy groups.
The reporting referenced wasn’t much better (emphasis mine):
“So while the message most people heard after Tuesday was that Issa doesn’t meet with his constituents, it wouldn’t be accurate to describe the town hall he skipped as a grassroots effort.
The town hall was organized and paid for by unions and health care advocacy groups, but to be sure, dozens of angry North County residents did most of the speaking, and they have a right to talk to and ask questions of their representatives.”
Let’s see… the full page ad referenced in the first snip was crowdfunded and listed the names of people who donated the money.
The Facebook event page announcing the Town Hall listed all 29 sponsors, which included several Indivisible groups, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the Bernie Sanders/Our Revolution organization, Organizing for Action, and 5 unions.
Somehow all the other organizations and the crowdfunding didn’t count nearly as much as the unions and health care advocacy groups.
This item in my column should be a quibble about Indivisible and the others not getting credit. After all, there are staged town halls–some of which actually include Congresspersons–happening all over the country.
But when it comes to the news media and unions, you have to wonder.
An otherwise well-written story in the Times of San Diego about Mickey Kasparian’s troubles at the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council refers to the UFCW President as a ‘union boss.’
UPDATE: To their credit, the Times has changed the wording in the article. Bravo!
A recent post in Dollars and Sense about one person’s battle with the New York Times over the use of this phrase in reporting should be required reading for anybody writing about labor.
‘Union boss,’ as Chris Sturr points out, is “a staple of anti-union rhetoric, just one step up from ‘union thug.’”
As one commenter put it: “…’union boss’ is as acceptable as ‘capitalist pig’. I’m waiting to see that usage in The NY Times.”
The thing is, I can just about guarantee the local press won’t see the problem with their reporting.
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