Tag Archives: ICE

Fix the DACA mess; restore humaneness to our immigration policy

 ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A Facebook friend, a man I actually know and respect, brought up a point on an earlier blog post that I want to acknowledge here.

He agrees with my belief that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency needs to be repaired, not eliminated, but he cautions about the need to deal with the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals matter as well.

He is correct.

DACA recipients are being punished unjustly only because they were children when their parents sneaked them into the country illegally. The Donald Trump administration wants them deported. The president rescinded an executive order that President Obama signed that gave DACA residents a form of temporary amnesty from deportation.

ICE is under orders to find these folks and detain them.

This isn’t right. It’s cruel and it is inhumane to deport DACA recipients, many of whom have excelled scholastically in the only country they’ve ever known.

I should point out as well two previous Texas governors — George W. Bush and Rick Perry, both Republicans — have all but embraced the idea contained in the DACA executive order that Obama signed. They have supported initiatives, for instances, to grant DACA students in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Texas. Why? Because they recognize the contributions these young students can make if they are allowed to succeed while continuing to reside in Texas.

ICE can do much good for the country as we seek to reform our immigration policy. I also agree with former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s campaigning for president, that the best way to ensure a thorough and lasting repair of ICE is to change presidents. Donald Trump won’t do it.

Indeed, DACA reform must be part of any effort to re-humanize our nation’s immigration policy.

ICE can be mended

Joe Biden is having trouble finding his footing lately as he campaigns for president, but I want to fully endorse an idea he has put forth about the nation’s immigration enforcement policy.

The former vice president says it is wrong to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It can be repaired. Indeed, the best remedy, according to Biden, is to elect a new president in 2020.

I have been troubled, along with progressives, by the ham-handed approach ICE has used to detain immigrants who have entered the United States illegally. However, the principle behind ICE’s formation remains sound. Yes, we need better enforcement along our borders — both north and south, I hasten to add — as well as along our expansive Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. ICE’s mission is to enact enforcement policies that seek to stem illegal immigration into the country.

ICE critics have taken the argument against the agency’s policy too far, though, by calling for its abolition.

Democratic presidential candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren, say the human rights abuses are a direct result of ICE policy. She’s only half-right. The direct responsibility for that policy flows from the White House, where Donald Trump is currently residing.

I agree with Joe Biden: The best cure for what ails ICE is to replace the president with someone with a semblance of empathy and compassion for those who are seeking to enter this country while fleeing oppression and crime in other nations.

There is no compelling need to abolish ICE. The agency simply needs to be repaired. Let’s start with removing the guy at the top of the chain of command.

Immigration battle bordering now on the absurd

The Donald Trump administration now wants to make legal immigration more difficult for those who want to enter the United States.

You got that? The fight to stem the flow of immigrants has spread to those who play by the rules, abide by our laws and want to work hard to craft a better life for their families.

That’s so very American of the president, yes? Actually, no! It isn’t. It is as un-American as damn near everything he has said or done since taking office.

What’s more, here is where it gets absurd. I saw a social media meme that said the following: Trumpsters yell immigrants are freeloaders, but ICE always raids workplaces. Strange …

Yes. It is strange.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided those food processing plants in Mississippi on the same weekend as the El Paso and Dayton massacres. They arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants. then released many of them almost immediately.

As the meme notes, though, ICE is busting those immigrants who are working for a living, not the so-called “freeloaders” whom Trump insists are “infesting” our nation.

As the grandson of immigrants who came here in the early 20th century with virtually nothing, I resent this abhorrent trend that’s playing out.

All four of my grandparents had little formal education. They sought to build good lives for themselves and their children. I wonder at this moment if they would have qualified for entry under the rules being laid out by Donald Trump.

The absurdity of this debate is astonishing.

Mr. VPOTUS, spare us the platitudes about detainees

This brief comment is directed at you, Mr. Vice President.

I understand you took a tour today of a detention center in McAllen, Texas, where Border Patrol and Customs officials showed you the crowded conditions in which authorities have placed these migrants.

I am going to ask you, sir, to spare the nation any phony platitudes about how “well” the detainees are being treated. You said you “weren’t surprised” at the “tough stuff” you saw.

However, I am half-expecting you to issue statements denigrating the complaints that are coming from other detention centers, such as the one in Clint, near El Paso. Frankly, Mr. Vice President, I wish you had gone to that facility to see up close what all the protests have been about.

But you didn’t.

Mr. Vice President, there are too many reports of mistreatment of children in Clint. You cannot ignore what I know you are hearing. Oh, sure, the president is in full denial and given that you’re the No. 2 man, you must feel the need to parrot what the No. 1 man in the government is saying.

Except that it isn’t true, Mr. Vice President. Yes, you got a taste of what these people are enduring.

For you to downplay, if not outright deny the mistreatment of migrants — especially the children — makes you complicit in the lies that Donald Trump keeps blathering.

Shame on you both.

Trump rattling his fellow Republicans with DHS purge

Donald Trump is on a tear through the agency formed to protect Americans against enemies of our nation.

He has fired (essentially) the secretary of homeland security, gotten rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, canned the Secret Service director. There are threats of more dismissals/resignations to come.

Republican senators are shaking their heads, according to Politico. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said she thought DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was doing a “fantastic” job.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said “It’s a mess,” referring to the border situation and the confusion and chaos at DHS.

Yep, it’s a mess, all right.

I believe that is exactly how Donald Trump prefers it.

Cohesion and smooth operation? Forget about it! Yet he calls his administration a “fine-tuned machine.” The president is not hearing the clanks and misfires from the political “engine” he has built.

I guess I’m allowed to wonder how all this tumult at Homeland Security is going to affect the agency’s ability to, um, secure the homeland.

Mend ICE, don’t end it

I happen to agree with a former homeland security secretary who is pushing back against progressive politicians’ call to get rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Jeh Johnson, who ran the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, said that ICE needs to be reformed. To end it completely, he said, would compromise national security, given that ICE is a law enforcement agency.

Not at all surprisingly, Donald J. Trump has said progressive politicians favor “anarchy” instead of law and order. Those who holler for an end to ICE only give the president ammo to fire at his political foes.

He is at his demagogic best when given such ammunition. Trust me on this, he has been reckless in the extreme in suggesting that anti-ICE forces actually want the country to be “overrun” by gang members, assorted criminals and anyone who wants to do us harm.

As Johnson wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “Abolish ICE” makes for a good rallying cry on the left. Demanding the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also provides President Trump with a useful weapon for bludgeoning Democrats politically. He has said as much, and a good portion of the American public will listen to him.

Read the entire Post essay here.

If there is a way to make ICE a more compassionate law enforcement agency, then let’s look for that solution rather than an outright abolition.

Signs of cracking among the ‘base’?

I am heartened to learn of some second thoughts among Donald J. Trump’s most ardent supporters regarding this ghastly policy of “no tolerance” along our southern border.

It’s the policy that allows U.S. Border Patrol and immigration agents to seize young children from their parents as they enter the United States illegally.

Trump blames a “Democrat bill,” which doesn’t exist, for the policy.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Bible — as stated in Romans 13 — gives the Trump administration all the authority it needs to invoke this intensely cruel policy.

Now we hear from, say, the Rev. Franklin Graham, one of the president’s most ardent supporters. Graham has declared his opposition to the policy.

Oh, and then former first lady Laura Bush has weighed in with an op-ed column in which she declares the policy “immoral” and said it “breaks my heart” to learn of children being put in cages along our southern border.

The current first lady, Melania Trump, has waffled a bit, calling on “both sides” to cease this humanitarian crisis. I understand the first lady’s difficult spot. But “both sides” aren’t required.

Only one side is needed to fix it. That would be the president, who can end this hideous policy with a phone call and a signature.

This is a seriously ICE-y policy

There’s heartlessness and then there is a new policy announced by the Trump administration.

Unauthorized immigrants seeking entry into the United States will be arrested and prosecuted, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Fine. I get that.

But their small children will be taken from them on the spot by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. They will be separated from their parents — from their mother and father — and sent … somewhere.

Sessions said, “… we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

Infants? Toddlers? Adolescents? Doesn’t matter. They’re going to snatched from their parents under the new ICE policy.

Critics of this policy are calling it “torture” as defined by the United Nations. According to a Washington Post essay by Jaana Juvonen and Jennifer Silvers: Under federal law, which adopts the United Nations definition, torture is: “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as … punishing him or her for an act he or she or a third person … has committed or is suspected of having committed.” And though in theory any action inflicting such suffering is banned, that is what is inflicted by separating parents and children in border detention.

Read the entire essay here.

Is this how Donald Trump defines the “love” he once said he wanted to use in determining the fate of the so-called Dreamers, the U.S. residents brought here when they were children by their undocumented immigrant parents?

I can answer that one: It lacks any pretense of love when it comes to the treatment of the children of those who are trying to enter the United States. Asylum seekers? Refugees? Forget it, man! They’re going to be rounded up and sent to places where their children cannot join them.

Shameful.

Border ‘crisis’ appears to be overcooked

I’m going to speak from the cuff here, but I believe it needs to be said. Donald Trump’s decision to deploy National Guard troops to our southern border appears to me to be a solution in search of a problem.

The president keeps hyping an immigration “crisis” along our border with Mexico. He is implying that the border is being overrun by illegal immigrants. He suggests that the only way to stem that deluge of people sneaking in is to send in ground troops; they need to patrol the border, shoring up security already being provided by Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, local police and electronic surveillance equipment.

When did it get to this point? What is the president trying to prove with this initiative?

I don’t get it. I cannot fathom when this matter escalated to a point that requires a virtual militarization of our border with one of our nation’s closest allies.

Barack Obama deported a record number of illegal immigrants during his two terms as president of the United States. George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks, giving the federal government another agency responsible for protecting us against potential terrorist entry.

Trump takes office after campaigning on a promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” and forcing Mexico to pay for it. Mexico won’t pay a dime for the wall.

Why in the world is there this need to send National Guardsmen and women to the border when we have plenty of civilian resources available to do the job of catching people who are trying to sneak into the United States illegally?

This looks to me to be a made-up crisis.

Legislature ends contentious session — just as it gets ugly

I am glad at the moment to be living far from Austin, the capital of Texas and the place where state legislators ended their 2017 session with two of them threatening physical harm to each other.

Whatever happened to the late Robert F. Kennedy ‘s notion that politics could be a “noble profession”? It ain’t. Not in Texas. Not these days. I would have hated to have been hit by a stray bullet.

Just think: Gov. Greg Abbott just might call these clowns back into special session to wrap up some unfinished business, some of which might include enactment that idiotic Bathroom Bill that would require people to use public restrooms designated to the gender noted in their bleeping birth certificate.

As for the end of the 2017 regular legislative session, two House members got into each other’s face as a scuffle broke out on the House floor. Some illegal immigrants reportedly raised a ruckus. One lawmaker, Democrat Poncho Nevarez threatened “to get” Republican Matt Rinaldi after Rinaldi called immigrations agents to break up the disturbance that was caused by the illegal immigrants.

By “get,” Rinaldi presumed Nevarez intends serious physical harm, to which he (Rinaldi) responded by threatening to put a “bullet in the head” of his colleague — in self-defense, of course.

https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-republican-sb-4-protesters-capitol-ice/

Good ever-lovin’ grief, fellas. Nevarez should have kept his trap shut and Rinaldi should have refrained from threatening to shoot Nevarez.

Hey, guys, here’s a flash for you: Texas is in relatively good financial shape. Yeah, we have our issues. We have differences of opinion, most certainly differences of philosophy and ideology.

For this kind of tough talk to erupt at the end of a legislative session — which lasted all of 140 days — is ridiculous, outrageous and disgraceful on its face. House rules prohibit demonstrates from the gallery; the demonstrators broke the rules, period! That’s where it started and how it went from bad to stupid.

If Abbott is going bring you folks back to Austin, my hope is that he waits a while before setting a date. Reps. Nevarez and Rinaldi need to cool off, collect themselves, catch their breath — and count their blessings.