“These Aren’t People. These Are Animals”
It must have been a proud day for County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, as they attended the White House California Sanctuary Cities Roundtable.
Freed of the necessity for fact-based discourse, they joined the President in dividing the country on the basis of race and nationality. The timing of the event was fortuitous, coming just one day after top House Republicans huddled at the White House, hoping to head off an attempt by party moderates to force consideration of four immigration bills.
Lawmakers were warned again by Rep. Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday any such effort at passing such legislation could damage the party’s prospects in the fall’s congressional elections by dispiriting conservative voters.
To be clear, the leadership of the Republican Party and the President of the United States would rather denigrate human beings than give our elected representatives the opportunity to even consider immigration reforms supported by the vast majority of the American people.
So it was in this context –drumming up hate to fire up the base–that California Republicans working to undermine the State’s minimal efforts to offer some legal protections to immigrants met with the President.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, who’s built his political career by inflaming divisions in his community, sat two seats away from Trump.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The president’s guests, to his seeming delight, cast California as a ruinous state and Gov. Jerry Brown as ignorant of the costs of the sanctuary law he signed.
“California is going down the drain,” said Escondido Mayor Sam Abed. “When Jerry Brown cares more about illegal criminals than cares about his community and American citizens, this is insanity.”
But Trump and his guests also exaggerated the breadth of the measure Brown signed last year after demanding changes from legislators that gave greater leeway for cooperation.
Misrepresenting reality is a hallmark of GOP think-speak these days. It mattered little to those in attendance that the region’s crime rate is the lowest it’s been in decades. They choose to ignore multiple studies showing undocumented immigrants do not increase violent crime or drug and alcohol problems.
So it’s not surprising meeting attendees feigned ignorance about the legal nicities of California’s legal push-back on Trump’s immigration enforcement policies.
Never mind that the law specifically allows local officials to alert ICE agents about people in jail whose crimes include serious or violent felonies, domestic violence or sex offenses. Or that federal agents are still allowed to question immigrants in county jails and to work with state prison officials on deportations.
To hear San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar tell it, locals are fearing for their lives amid an unprecidented crime wave.
From the Union-Tribune:
Gaspar, a candidate for the 49th Congressional District, spoke to those security concerns by relating the story of a man who had been shot dead by an undocumented immigrant who had been previously deported. She said the killer is now living openly in a motel in Tijuana.
“We’ve created a situation where Gov. (Jerry) Brown has made San Diego a great place to commit a crime because you have options,” Gaspar said. “You can either be across the border in a matter of minutes and shielded by Mexico, or you have the option of simply staying put, shielded by Gov. Moonbeam,” she said, referring to Brown.
Gaspar was seated next to Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the meeting. She apparently thinks jumping on the GOP hate train is a ticket to higher office.
Apologists for the administration have been trying to make a big deal of out people quoting the President’s statements and not mentioning his earlier reference to the MS-13 gang. The designation is all-too-often abused by authorities.
ICE has admitted to classifying people as MS-13 without any evidence they’re actually in the gang, as a way of ensuring they don’t get bond during immigration proceedings.
Here’s an example via Slate, published just yesterday:
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez shot down the federal government’s efforts to strip Daniel Ramirez Medina of his DACA status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had arrested and detained Ramirez last year, then falsely claimed that he was affiliated with a gang and attempted to deport him. He filed suit, alleging that ICE had violated his due process rights. Martinez agreed. His order barred the federal government from voiding Ramirez’s DACA status, safeguarding his ability to live and work in the United States legally for the foreseeable future. What may be most remarkable about Martinez’s decision, though, is its blunt repudiation of ICE’s main claim—that Ramirez is “gang-affiliated.” The judge did not simply rule against ICE. He accused the agency of lying to a court of law.
Reaction to the President’s remarks was forceful.
Calling people animals is sinful. Every human being has infinite dignity. Moreover, this is the same kind of language that led to the extermination of Jews (“vermin”) in Germany and of Tutsi (“cockroaches”) in Rwanda. This kind of language cannot be normalized. It is a grave sin. https://t.co/5VvURONwvh
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) May 16, 2018
California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a press release, saying
“Scapegoating and fear-mongering is the wrong way to strike a conversation about public safety. … While President Trump seems to think our local law enforcement agencies should do the job of the federal government, we’re in the business of public safety, not deportation. The California Values Act does not conflict with federal immigration laws, but instead works in concert with them. I urge the president to take time to read it
The Union-Tribune quoted Ellen Montanari, one of the organizers of the weeklly rallies outside Rep. Darrell Issa’s offices:
“I heard his comment about how these people are animals,” Montanari said. “He’s talking about women and children. I am literally speechless and I cannot believe Kristin Gaspar was sitting in the room with him and didn’t say, ‘excuse me, sir, you are speaking about human beings.'”
trump animals. jpg
@realDonaldTrump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA. Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed.
— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) May 16, 2018
A statement attributed to Immigrants’ Rights Policy Attorney Maria Romani was released by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundations of California:
“By meeting with President Trump today, a small group of California officials have made their views clear: They care more about serving the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, and aligning with designated hate groups like FAIR, than they do about serving their constituents.
The federal government has a divisive and hateful agenda – but here in California, we stick together and we stand up for each other. Immigrants are a vital part of California’s heart and soul. They are our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, and members of our families.
The California Values Act is about fairness, equality, and keeping families together. Our communities are safer and stronger when they are whole. California is fully within its rights to limit the use of our local resources to fuel Trump’s deportation machine, which routinely flouts constitutional rights and tears families apart. Here in California, we treat our people fairly, no matter their background or where they were born.”
Today Trump called immigrants ‘animals’ while one of our San Diego County Supervisors sat there and smiled. Disgusting. https://t.co/BmaaYBqlpk
— Nathan Fletcher (@nathanfletcher) May 17, 2018
Members of the San Diego City Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday to join the amicus brief that supports California laws including the California Values Act (SB 54), AB 450, and AB 103.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer disagreed:
San Diego is not a sanctuary city. I oppose the vote to join an amicus brief in the lawsuit over California’s sanctuary state laws.
And so it goes. As much as California’s “moderate” Republicans attempt to dance away from the most egregious actions of Trump, the reality is they are all ultimately supporting an organization dependent on hatred of the “other” (meaning anybody but white men).
If you vote for any Republican this year–yes, I’m looking at supporters of Bonnie Dumanis and Summer Stephan–, you’re ultimately supporting these haters.
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