Keeping retirement weird. Immigration raids and a citizen’s responsibility in the Time of Trump.

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Our guest on yesterday’s Hitting Left radio show with the Klonsky brothers was dean of the Chicago City Council’s Hispanic and Progressive Caucuses, Alderman Ricardo Muñoz of the 22nd Ward.

The 22nd Ward includes Little Village, home to tens of thousands of Mexican immigrants in a city that  Alderman Muñoz accurately describes as the Mexican Capital of the Midwest.

The issue of Trump’s immigration policies was a center piece to our conversation with the Alderman.

Only the day before a three-judge federal panel upheld the stay of the Executive Order Tump has issued banning Muslim entry into the United States.

Our conversation shifted to how Trump’s immigration policies would impact the nearly one million Mexicans and their families that live in Chicago.

Hours later this happened.

U.S. immigration authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least a half-dozen states this week in a series of raids that marked the first large-scale enforcement of President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

The raids, which officials said targeted known criminals, also netted some immigrants who did not have criminal records, an apparent departure from similar enforcement waves during the Obama administration that aimed to just corral and deport those who had committed crimes.

Trump has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Last month he also made a change to the Obama administration’s policy of prioritizing deportation for convicted criminals, substantially broadening the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.

Immigration officials confirmed that agents this week raided homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina, netting hundreds of people. But Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said they were part of “routine” immigration enforcement actions. ICE dislikes the term “raids,” and prefers to say authorities are conducting “targeted enforcement actions.”

In Chicago, using perfect Trump-speak,  ICE officials denied the raids were raids. ICE officials preferred the Orwellian term, “targeted enforcement.”

Immigration officials said Friday evening they are conducting regular “targeted enforcement” operations in Chicago they say aim to apprehend deportable foreign nationals.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Spokeswoman Gail Montenegro declined to say if there was a surge recently in the operation or to detail how many, or if any, arrests have been made.

Earlier in the week a conversation took place on a list-serve that includes folks I graduated with from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.

One of my fellow alums compared the current Time of Trump to the McCarthy Era and expressed her wish for all this to pass,  for a Secretary of the Army to ask, “after all this have you no decency,” as happened to Joe McCarthy.

I responded.

Just a reminder that for many (including those from families on this list) the McCarthy era didn’t “pass” before a lot of people were hurt, jailed and died. And it didn’t pass because the Secretary of the Army asked if Joe if he had any decency. It was beaten back by the rise of the Civil Rights Movement and the student movement and the anti-war movement.

 Without a resistance movement at the ballot box and in the streets, Trump and his neo-fascists won’t just pass.

But my friend and attorney Arthur Angel went even further.

I agree with Fred and would extend what he said a bit further.

The lesson from the civil rights movement, the McCarthy error, er era, worker rights, marriage equality and gay rights  and other struggles for recognition, respect, and protection for basic human and societal rights is that improvement doesn’t  just happen because of some spontaneous epiphany that the conduct and attitudes just aren’t right. In addition to voting and demonstrations there must be courageous people defying or exposing the wrong in the status quo, lawsuits, journalistic, literary, and cinematic depictions of what the wrong is and why it is wrong.

Laws change because of public sentiments and vice versa.   Brown v. Bd. Of Education, for example, both resulted from growing public realization that discrimination was wrong and it made that official, prospectively affecting the attitudes of many though obviously not all of the people that had been psychologically comfortable in believing that discrimination was normal and just fine.

 We all have some ability and some responsibility to see to it that Trump and his followers don’t turn America of today into Germany of the 1930’s or anything anywhere close to that. Trump, his appointees,  and many Republicans in Congress provide some putatively legitimate confirmation that discrimination, disregard of Constitutional protections, and callous and inhumane treatment of various parts -people – of our society are ok.

We must not allow that to go unchallenged.

 

 

4 Replies to “Keeping retirement weird. Immigration raids and a citizen’s responsibility in the Time of Trump.”

  1. Extreme vetting and targeted enforcement are a perfect recipe for disaster. As the proud granddaughter of four immigrants, I add my voice to the resistance.

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