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Tag: "racism"

The Continued Legal Stylings of the Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III DOJ

[ 18 ] May 9, 2017 |

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Ladies and gentlemen, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III:

In a brief defending its ban on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department approvingly cited a segregation-era Supreme Court decision that allowed Jackson, Mississippi, to close public pools rather than integrate them.

In the early 1960s, courts ordered Jackson to desegregate its public parks, which included five swimming pools. Instead, the city decided to close the pools. Black residents of Jackson sued. But in 1971, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, decided that closing the pools rather than integrating them was just fine.

The dissents, even at the time, were furious. “May a State in order to avoid integration of the races abolish all of its public schools?” Justice William O. Douglas asked in his dissent.

“I had thought official policies forbidding or discouraging joint use of public facilities by Negroes and whites were at war with the Equal Protection Clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment, Justice Byron White wrote in another dissent. “Our cases make it unquestionably clear, as all of us agree, that a city or State may not enforce such a policy by maintaining officially separate facilities for the two races. It is also my view, but apparently not that of the majority, that a State may not have an official stance against desegregating public facilities and implement it by closing those facilities in response to a desegregation order.”

The Trump administration emphasizes this in its citation of the case, arguing that looking into “governmental purpose outside the operative terms of governmental action and official pronouncements” is “fraught with practical ‘pitfalls’ and ‘hazards’ that would make courts’ task ‘extremely difficult.’”

But in some cases, such as the closure of the Jackson pools, officials’ motivations are clear, said Paul Brest, the director of Stanford University’s Law and Policy Lab.

“When it is absolutely clear that an official acted for unconstitutional purposes … [the courts] should be willing to strike down that decision because, even though the decision might have been reached legitimately, a public official violates the constitution when he or she acts for unconstitutional reasons,” Brest said. “It’s as simple as that. … Race discrimination is the best example of where courts are quite willing to take people’s motivations into account — or religious discrimination.”

Palmer is one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever handed down in regards to race, said Michele Goodwin, the chancellor’s professor of law at the University of California, Irvine.

“Citing Palmer is like citing Buck v. Bell for a premise of equal protection,” Goodwin says. (Buck v. Bell legalized eugenics.) She added that a case like Palmer also doesn’t hold up over time.

Oh, like Buck v. Bell isn’t going to be cited approvingly in the next 4 years.

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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 82

[ 37 ] May 7, 2017 |

This is the grave of Louis Agassiz.

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Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was born in 1807 in Switzerland. He became a scientist, attending some of the finest universities in Europe. He moved to Paris and became an acolyte of Alexander Von Humboldt, giving him access to the finest training and connections in the scientific world. He quickly became one of the world’s experts on geology and zoology. He first became known when selected to a complete a study of Brazilian freshwater fish samples that an exploratory team had brought back but whose leader died before he could complete the study. This made Agassiz particularly interested in ichthyology, which would remain his specialty. He began his own studies of European freshwater fish and published pioneering books on the subject. He also began to explore fossil fish and he published five volumes of study on the matter between 1833 and 1843. In 1836, he was elected to the Royal Society of Britain, helping him secure the financial resources necessary to take on his work. In 1837, his research led him to the conclusion that the Earth had been subjected an Ice Age, the first scientist to figure this out.

Agassiz came to the United States in 1846 to deliver a series of lectures and do research. As many successful foreigners have learned over the last 200 years, the U.S. can be a good place to make money. He was really popular, with up to 5000 people attending his lectures on fossil fish, zoology, and the Ice Age. So Agassiz stayed and worked at Harvard for the rest of his life. His lectures at Harvard led to the creation of the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard in 1847, headed by Agassiz. He founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1859 and headed it until his death. He also realized by the mid-1850s that he could coast on his previous works while being famous. He taught occasionally at Cornell and talked a lot to other scientists. Longfellow wrote poems about him and he became comfortable and happy in his fame. He did lead a couple of scientific expeditions to South America in the 1860s, in part to escape the cold climate of New England that was affecting his health as he aged.

As was not uncommon among 19th century scientists, he also took several positions that modern Americans should feel quite uncomfortable with. First, he thought that the races were different species affected by different climatic zones, and most horribly, that those climatic zones made white people more advanced than people from the southern climes. He believed the Book of Genesis only described the white race. There has been debate over the years whether Agassiz was explicitly a racist, with Stephen Jay Gould strongly accusing him of racism and others defending him. The problem with this construction is the idea that one is either a racist or not a racist, avoiding the reality that most people are racists on a continuum, which people don’t like to hear today because it means they have culpability in racism even if they are liberals. Agassiz was obviously a white supremacist and as most science past and present is heavily influenced by the political and social atmosphere of the time, just because Agassiz was operating in a period of scientific racism doesn’t excuse his perpetuating it, nor does it make him a monster per se. Moreover, as Gould pointed out, Agassiz was viscerally horrified upon seeing African-Americans after moving the United States. For similar reasons of racist thought backed by religious dogma, Agassiz also rejected Darwin’s evolutionary theory. In 1860, he launched a public attack on Darwin, denying any connection between fossilized species and living species. He believed that God created all the species and refused to accept any theory that did not center some role for the deity. He published three books before he died, attacking Darwin and defending creationism, even as he became increasingly irrelevant in scientific debates. For this, Agassiz is a hero today among creationists.

Louis Agassiz died in 1873 and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Today In Research for Answers We Already Knew

[ 22 ] April 20, 2017 |

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18: Eric Reid #35 and Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 46-27. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

I know I am shocked that the white response to black athletes protesting is framed by white racism.

But all those white people love the conservative values espoused by Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali so they aren’t racist at all just because they’d like to see Colin Kaepernick lynched for not standing for the flag.

The Sessions Press Conference

[ 49 ] March 27, 2017 |

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Above: Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III struck today.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing Monday afternoon to urge sanctuary cities to change their policies, noting that the Department of Justice plans to deny them funding if they do not begin following federal immigration laws.

“I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities ad counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to our citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said.

So-called “sanctuary cities” offer safe harbor to undocumented immigrants who might otherwise be deported by federal law enforcement officials. The United States has more than 140 sanctuary jurisdictions, either cities or counties, including 37 cities. Among the sanctuary cities are San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles.

But the Trump administration has argued that sanctuary cities also offer safety from deportation for undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

“When cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe,” Sessions said. “Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.”

Sessions’ comments follow approximately two months after President Trump’s executive order allowing the attorney general and homeland security secretary to decide whether sanctuary cities would be eligible for federal grants. The order was one of the first Mr. Trump signed after taking office.

This is of course entirely expected with a racist white nationalists in the Oval Office naming an open neo-Confederate as Attorney General. The Slave Power lives. The extent to which cities fight back will be very interesting. The key is that they do not cave. If one or two cave, a bunch will. This will take grassroots activism to demand mayors do the right thing, even if it costs money. This is an ethnic cleansing moment and as I have said before, if you want to know what you would have done if you lived under a fascist power in the past, well, now you know based upon what you do today.

Why did this happen today? David Kurtz speculates, convincingly.

Perhaps the White House had planned all along for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make an appearance at today’s press briefing to rail against sanctuary cities. But the timing is consistent with what I’ve long feared will be the impulse for the Trump administration: When the going gets rough (failed Obamacare repeal, low poll numbers, etc), it will fall back on appeals to racism and xenophobia to regain political footing.

With so much incompetence taking root, it’s not difficult to envision a scenario where those base appeals must become more amped up, extreme, and scurrilous to be “effective.” It threatens to turn into a vicious cycle the likes of which we’ve never seen in this country.

Obviously we can’t know this. But doesn’t shifting from a defeat by fanning the flames of racism sound exactly like something Steve Bannon would do?

This Day in Labor History: March 24, 1934

[ 25 ] March 24, 2017 |

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On March 24, 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Tydings-McDuffie Act. Better known as the Philippine Independence Act, Tydings-McDuffie initially sounds like a victory for anti-colonialist forces. However, a look at the history of law demonstrates that it actually came out of the deep anti-Asian racism of the West Coast who saw Asian populations both as competition for white labor and competition for white women.

From the beginning of Anglo-American occupation in California, white workers defined the state as a white man’s republic. This was basically repeated in Oregon and Washington. And yet from the very beginning, the polyglot population of the region challenged those assumptions. The arrival of Mexicans and Chinese along with whites into California freaked out the white population, which quickly sought to take over the diggings. The Chinese were pushed into menial labor, as well as the most difficult and dangerous labor, such as railroad building. White workers saw these workers as a direct threat, committed murderous violence against them, and lobbied for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first major legislative victory for unions in American history. But California employers continued their search for cheap labor, turning to the Japanese. But the same anti-Asian sentiment rose up against the Japanese, especially as these workers began organizing as well, and the Gentlemen’s Agreement cut that labor off in 1907. But western employers now had a new source of labor: Filipinos. This was much more difficult for anti-Asian zealots to organize against, for Filipinos had the right to immigrate as colonial subjects of the United States since the 1898-1902 war of subjugation.

By the 1920s, Filipino immigration to California expanded rapidly, with over 24,000 coming between 1925 and 1929, mostly young men to work in the fields. In response, the San Francisco Chronicle editorialized, “There is a serious immigration problem involved in the introduction of large numbers of person who are unassimilable yet who are given a statue little short of full citizenship.” They lived in the same terrible camps that other workers suffered through in the fields, with housing that was basically chicken coops. The growers liked them because they worked hard and made little trouble on the farms. But the new arrival of non-whites infuriated many Californians. To make it worse for white Californians, many Filipino men, and men made up 94% of the migrants, ended up having sexual relationships with white women. This was not what their cheap, exploitable labor was supposed to do. Said Fred Hart, a farmer from Salinas, “The Filipinos will not leave our white girls alone…Frequently they intermarry.” That these new workers had status as Americans made their brazenness even more outrageous for white California.

So whites did what whites do so frequently in American history–they turned to violence against the people who color who dared stand up for human rights and labor rights. On January 21, 1930, about two hundred white Californians tried to raid a Filipino-owned club near Monterey where nine white women worked as entertainers. The mob expanded to about 500 people and the next night they started attacking Filipinos they found on the streets and in the orchards. On January 23, the mob killed a farmworker named Fermin Tobera, who had come to California in 1928 to work in the fields and send money back to his impoverished family. The bunkhouse in which he slept on the Murphy Ranch near Watsonville was set upon by whites who started firing into it. Tobera was shot in the head. This outraged the Filipino community working for the rights of their people in Washington, as well as Filipinos in Manila. Other violent incidents popped up around California over the next couple of days, leading to beating and a stabbing. On January 29, someone blew up the Stockton headquarters of the Filipino Federation of America. Although several people were sleeping inside, no one was killed. Given the trans-Pacific anger this violence caused, California law enforcement had to do something. Eight men pleaded guilty for incitement to riot; four of them served thirty days in prison and the rest of the sentences for all of them were suspended.

This violence is the context in which the U.S. considered granting the Filipinos their independence. Both supporters and opponents of Filipino migration to the U.S. thought independence was probably the best solution by the early 1930s. The Watsonville Evening Pajaronian editorialized that it hoped the Philippines would get their independence so Japan would invade them and turn them into a new Korea. Given the rapidly growing availability of white labor as the Great Depression deepened, the California growers wouldn’t struggle to find a new labor force either.

The law itself granted the Philippines independence after ten years. In exchange, Filipinos would have to abide by the racist immigration quota system of the 1924 Immigration Act immediately. A whopping 50 immigrants from the Philippines a year were allowed into the United States. They were also denied citizenship rights. A 1946 law, the same year that the Philippines actually received independence, doubled the quota to a whole 100 immigrants and restored the ability of Filipinos to become citizens. A year after Tydings-McDuffie, Congress passed the Filipino Repatriation Act that provided free transportation for Filipinos who wanted to return to the islands but could not afford to do so. The nation didn’t quite get to the point of rounding up these workers, but they can awfully close.

In conclusion, the United States was actually too racist and too concerned about interracial sex to remain a colonial power.

Of course, Filipino labor did not disappear from the United States after Tydings-McDuffie, even as new immigration did. These workers would play a critical role in the early farmworker movements that eventually led to the United Farm Workers, even as Latino workers supplanted the Filipinos in the movement.

I borrowed from Dorothy B. Fujita-Rony, “Empire and the Moving Body: Fermin Tobera, Military California, and Rural Space,” in Bender and Lipman, Making the Empire Work: Labor and United States Imperialism in the writing of this post.

This is the 212th post in this series. Previous posts are archived here.

The Return of a Racist Union Movement

[ 26 ] March 9, 2017 |

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The relationship between organized labor and immigration is complicated, to say the least. For many decades, far too long, the labor movement was outright opposed to immigration, partially on the ground of a higher population undermining wages and partly on the grounds of whiteness. In recent decades, that has changed fairly significantly. The United Farm Workers, even if it had very little real impact on the lives of workers in the end, helped start that. The growth of immigrant workers in unions such as UNITE-HERE and SEIU made some of our largest labor organizations also some of our largest immigrant rights organizations. This moved the AFL-CIO into supporting smart, sane, humanitarian immigration policy. But of course the AFL-CIO is a complex maelstrom of a lot of organizations. With the decline of the industrial unions, the building trades have reasserted a lot of authority within the labor movement. And while some of the building trades, especially at the local level in immigrant-heavy places, have embraced a diverse workforce, at the international level and in many, many locals, the old desire to keep America white is still very strong.

This helps us understand why many of the building trades have embraced Trump. It’s not just about pipeline construction. It’s about Make America White Again. One of those unions is the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, long one of the most politically conservative unions in the United States. In fact, it did not endorse a Democrat for the presidency until LBJ and while it was technically non-partisan before that, everyone knew that the Hutcheson dynasty that ruled the UBC for generations openly lobbied for Republicans. The actions of Carpenters leaders in Buffalo concerning immigrant workers are, to say the least, highly disturbing and must be denounced by the rest of the labor movement.

Federal agents are not the only ones trying to remove people from the Buffalo area who have entered the country illegally.

If Bill Bing, a carpenters union official, discovers that undocumented immigrants are working at a local construction project, the union tips off authorities.

That information has led to some raids and arrests, he said, although the detention last month of 32 individuals suspected of being in the country illegally and working at projects was not his tip.

“We were not directly responsible for the information on those two raids,” said Bing, the local representative for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters.

Bing said he is glad to see the enforcement of immigration laws and makes no apologies for when he or other union members tip off federal and state authorities.
The jobs should go to American citizens and that it is not a union-versus-nonunion issue, he said.

“There are very good local union and nonunion contractors who suffer the fallout from dirty business,” Bing said. “This directly affects area living standards, not to mention the tax dollars New York State, Erie County and the local municipalities don’t and won’t see.”

Other trade unions, he said, tip off authorities, “but they are not as proactive as we are. The carpenters union devotes a lot of money and resources to this.”

But even as the uniond supply tips, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say there have been numerous false reports of federal officers conducting law enforcement actions against immigrants.

“Reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible,” said Khaalid H. Walls, an ICE spokesman. “These reports create mass panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger,” Walls said. “Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.”

And how do these random Carpenters members in Buffalo know that a worker is undocumented? The don’t, of course. What they see is a brown-skinned person speaking Spanish. What more evidence do they need? How many people here with documentation are also being harassed by our proto-fascist immigration officials because of openly racist union members?

This is why, as I said in this piece for The New Republic, no one on the left is going to care when Trump signs a bill repealing Davis-Bacon. Even other parts of the labor movement aren’t going to care. Why would SEIU go to bat for the Carpenters over an issue that does not affect them when the Carpenters turn workers into ICE, the American Gestapo, for deportation? They won’t. Losing Davis-Bacon will decimate the building trades as so much of their work is contracted through the government. But that won’t get in the way of their whiteness campaign. I know there are good people inside the Carpenters who disagree with these sorts of policies. But until the international comes out and disciplines local leaders who engage in open racism and until the Carpenters commits itself to alliances with other groups who also care about better lives for workers, the whole union has to be held responsible for actions like what is happening in Buffalo. None of this is to say that contractors aren’t using undocumented workers to avoid using union crews. Of course they are. But the response of the Carpenters needs to be organizing these workers and hiring Spanish-speakers to work in those communities, not seeking to get them thrown out of the country.

Kicking the Chinese out of California in 1882 did not lead to a strong union California and kicking the Mexicans out of Buffalo in 2017 won’t lead to a union town either. The problems are much deeper than immigrant competition. Recognizing and acting upon that fact is the first step to an inclusive labor movement.

How Do You Celebrate the Selma March?

[ 29 ] March 5, 2017 |

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If you are the Secretary of State for Alabama, well….

After Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill promoted the state’s voter ID law at a church service held Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of a civil rights milestone in Selma, patrons walked out.

The service at Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Alabama was held to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march that erupted in police violence on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, according to a video posted to Rev. William Barber’s Facebook page.

Barber, who is president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, and church patrons walked out after Merrill spoke in support of Alabama’s voter ID law, according to the video’s caption.

“We can’t be polite about this. We can’t be casual or cavalier,” Barber told a reporter. “We have more voter suppression in recent years than we’ve seen since Jim Crow.”

He said that Merrill’s promotion of the voter ID law was “another lie.”

Merrill seems like a nice guy.

In October 2015, Merrill insisted that the closure of 31 driver’s license offices — many in majority black counties — would not prevent residents from obtaining the government-issued photo ID required to vote in Alabama.

Before the 2016 election, he went on to blast automatic voter registration, saying that it would “cheapen” the work of civil rights leaders.

“If you’re too sorry or lazy to get up off of your rear and to go register to vote, or to register electronically, and then to go vote, then you don’t deserve that privilege,” Merrill said.

He then lashed out at criticism of Alabama’s registration process and threatened to prosecute a filmmaker who described registering to vote in the state as “complex and complicated.”

Merrill threatened to prosecute Brian Jenkins if he was registered in two states, even though Jenkins never claimed to be registered in Alabama.

In conclusion, I am shocked that Alabama has supplied the nation Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General.

Racist in Chief

[ 107 ] February 28, 2017 |

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Donald Trump is showing the leadership one would expect in the aftermath of the racist murder of Indian engineers in Kansas.

At some point, embarrassingly late begins to verge on something more disquieting.

President Donald Trump has silently planted himself in that space.

Nearly a week has passed since two India-born engineers were singled out and shot at an Olathe bar, presumably because they were immigrants, darker in skin tone and possibly viewed by the shooter as unwanted foreigners.

People around the world were immediately and rightfully horrified.

But our president?

Mum. Not a word has been spoken, tweeted or prepped for Trump’s teleprompter.

Trump has offered no words of condolence for the grieving widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died from his gunshot wounds.

The president has expressed no sympathy for Kuchibhotla’s best friend, Alok Madasani, who continues to recover from bullet wounds and the trauma.

Trump usually loves to celebrate all-American heroes. But he’s passed on commending Ian Grillot, a bystander who leapt to take the gunman down before anyone else was harmed. Grillot was shot, too.

Surely the White House team could have cobbled together a statement of some sort, a response to at least address growing fears that the U.S. is unwelcoming of immigrants, or worse, that the foreign-born need to fear for their lives here. The deadly incident in Olathe has resonated across the country and even around the globe.

During such moments of crisis, people look to the president for strength and guidance.

They need to hear their moral outrage articulated, the condemnation of a possible hate crime and the affirmation that the U.S. values everyone’s contributions, whether you’re an immigrant or native-born. For Trump, this was a crucial opportunity to condemn such hateful acts and to forcefully declare that this is not who we are.

Others grasp that role. On Monday, Hillary Clinton tweeted a Kansas City Star story recounting the plea from Kuchibhotla’s widow for a U.S. response to hate crimes.

Clinton goaded Trump, writing: “With threats & hate crimes on rise, we shouldn’t have to tell @POTUS to do his part. He must step up & speak out.”

On the other hand, EMAILS!!!!!!

But hey, Trump is responding is his own way:

The White House has announced six guests who will sit with the first lady during President Trump’s first address to a joint Congress. They include Megan Crowley — a college sophomore who is the daughter of a health care entrepreneur, Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver — widows of California police officers killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2015, Denisha Merriweather — a woman who was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s widow Maureen McCarthy Scalia, and Jamiel Shaw Sr. — a father whose son was shot by an undocumented immigrant in 2008.

Traditionally, the president and the first lady guests’ are personifications of policy initiatives that that administration wants to focus on from the president’s speech.

The right kind of murders are OK, I guess.

Jim Crow as School Choice!

[ 115 ] February 28, 2017 |

Betsy DeVos, reminding everyone that the “saying the quiet parts loud” remark we used to make about the Republican Party’s racist statements is completely antiquated in an era of open racism.

I have some other images of freedom-loving choice here:

Here’s someone who is choosing to oppress white choice in Birmingham.

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Here’s some people choosing to live in poverty.

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Here’s people who chose to be sent across the Atlantic as slaves.

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You’d like to think that openly racist statements promoting Jim Crow America as a model for the present would get DeVos fired, but who I am kidding. It all just makes Rand Paul’s dream to overturn the Civil Rights Act more likely.

Today in Trump’s America

[ 106 ] February 23, 2017 |

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White people feel emboldened to kill people of color in Trump’s America.

A Missouri man is accused of shooting and killing an Indian immigrant engineer he thought was Middle Eastern and wounding two others after shouting “get out of my country” and opening fire.

Adam Purinton was arrested after fleeing Austin’s Bar and Grill, a suburban Kansas City restaurant that was packed Wednesday night when he allegedly blasted off several rounds at 7:15 p.m.

Cops arrested the 51-year-old at an Applebee’s hours later in Clinton, Mo., some 80 miles away after they were able to negotiate with him over the phone early Thursday morning.

The fatal victim was identified by the Kansas City Star as Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an aviation engineer at technology company Garmin whose Facebook page says he is from Hyderabad, India.

Surprised ICE doesn’t sign this guy up.

Preventing Panic?

[ 139 ] February 21, 2017 |

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As the Trump administration seeks to implement precisely what he said he would do and deport every undocumented immigrant in the country (although somehow I think the Irish undocumented immigrants won’t quite be treated the same as those from El Salvador and I wonder why that is….), it tries to claim that it wants to prevent panic while destroying lives and families. OK. Because what it is really doing is Making America White Again.

The new policies represent a sharp break from the final years of the Obama administration and could reverse a reduction in the number of deportations in President Barack Obama’s last years in office.

After deportations reached a record high of 434,000 in 2013, pressure from immigration advocates prompted the Obama administration to implement new guidelines that focused enforcement on hardened criminals. The number of people deported in 2015 was just over 333,000, the lowest number since 2007.

Kelly’s new DHS policies considerably broaden the pool of those who are prioritized for deportations, including undocumented immigrants who have been charged with crimes but not convicted, those who commit acts that constitute a “chargeable criminal offense,” and those who an immigration officer concludes pose “a risk to public safety or national security.”

The Trump administration “is using the specter of crime to create fear . . . in the American community about immigrants in order to create an opening to advance the indiscriminate persecution of immigrants,” said Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, deputy vice president at the National Council of La Raza. “This administration is saying, ‘Now, everybody is going to be a priority,’ and the devil may care.”

DHS officials emphasized that the guidelines in Kelly’s memos are focused on carrying out Trump’s vision and that they hew closely to the language of the executive orders. And they said the secretary has written the memos to abide by federal immigration laws established by Congress.

It is my feeling that ICE agents should be seen as people committing crimes against humanity. If you choose to deport people for a living, you are a major cog in an unjust machine. These are the active enemies of everything that you should hold dear about this nation. And they deserve to be treated with utter contempt by everyone who knows them. There are plenty of other law enforcement or public safety jobs they could hold. This is the most despicable possible job. Shun them as racist thugs.

Make America White Again

[ 147 ] February 9, 2017 |

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Today the annals of the United States embracing naked 19th century versions of racism. Example A:

Fadwa Alaoui is a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen living in Brossard, Quebec. Like a lot of Quebecers, she sometimes drives down to Vermont to take advantage of the deals. But on Saturday, when her family pulled up at the border, Alaoui encountered something new.

After the usual set of questions, Alaoui was asked about her religion and her thoughts on U.S. President Donald Trump. Border agents took her phone and fingerprints. Four hours later she was told that her family wasn’t welcome and she was forced to turn back.

HM: And you answered all the questions?

FA: Yes. I answered all the questions, the best that I know. I was calm. I collaborate. I give him all the answers he wanted to know. He told me: Are you part of any group? Muslim group? I told him no. I told him it’s not my first time that I’m going to the United States. I have family there. I have my parents, my brothers, everyone is there. Today, especially, I want to bring my son with me because he is sick. I want to change his mind and give him a treat because he was sick, he had cancer. He asked me about the mosque: Do you know the last name of the imam? If he is always present? If someone replace him? The name of the person who replaced him? He told me: What do you think about the shooting in Quebec? Do you have relatives in Quebec that was one of the victims?

HM: I understand he also asked your thoughts on President Donald Trump?

FA: Yes. He asked me: What do you think about Donald Trump? I told him, what? He told me: [What’s] your opinion about his policy. I told him, listen, he has the right to do whatever he wants in his country. I don’t expect that. I’m not following the news. I’m not following what happened. I have a busy life. I have busy schedule with my son, with all these appointments at the hospital, with my kids.

Example B:

For eight years, Guadalupe García de Rayos had checked in at the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office here, a requirement since she was caught using a fake Social Security number during a raid in 2008 at a water park where she worked.

Every year since then, she has walked in and out of the meetings after a brief review of her case and some questions.

But not this year.

On Wednesday, immigration agents arrested Ms. Rayos, 35, and began procedures to send her back to Mexico, a country she has not seen since she left it 21 years ago.

As a van carrying Ms. Rayos left the ICE building, protesters were waiting. They surrounded it, chanting, “Liberation, not deportation.” Her daughter, Jacqueline, joined in, holding a sign that read, “Not one more deportation.” One man, Manuel Saldana, tied himself to one of the van’s front wheels and said, “I’m going to stay here as long as it takes.”

Soon, police officers in helmets had surrounded Mr. Saldana. They cut off the ties holding him to the tire and rounded up at least six others who were blocking the front and back of the van, arresting them all. The driver quickly put the van in reverse and rolled back into the building.

Ms. Rayos was one of several detainees inside the van. It was unclear whether officials planned to take them to Mexico or to detention.

By midnight on Thursday, her husband said he was not sure where she was. A vehicle had just left the building under police escort, and he said he suspected she may have been inside.

Ms. Rayos was arrested just days after the Trump administration broadened the definition of “criminal alien,” a move that immigrants’ rights advocates say could easily apply to a majority of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants,” Ms. Rayos’s lawyer, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, said Wednesday after leaving the building here that houses the federal immigration agency, known by its acronym, ICE.

Example C:

House Republicans blocked a resolution advanced by Democrats on Tuesday declaring that Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust. From the Washington Examiner:

Led by [House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe] Crowley, Democrats tried to force the House to vote on the resolution he introduced last week calling on the White House “to affirm that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust.” More than 100 House Democrats co-sponsored the measure.

During debate on the rule for the House to consider three resolutions disapproving of three Obama administration rules concerning the Bureau of Land Management and Education Department, Crowley tried to defeat a procedural vote as a way to force Republicans to consider his resolution. But Republicans rejected the Democrats’ plan in a party-line vote.

The resolution, a shrewd effort to pin Republicans down on something the Trump administration has needlessly made an issue, condemned the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which failed to mention Jews or the anti-Semitism that led to Adolf Hitler’s genocide against them. It also called for the House to reiterate “the indisputable fact that the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in its perpetration of the Holocaust,” condemn Holocaust denialism, and demand acknowledgment from the White House that Jews were targeted.

At some point in the future, when the United States has moved out of this phase of its deeply racist history, future people will look back upon us like they look back upon slavery and Jim Crow, as a period of deep national shame, wondering how we could let this happen. And the answer will be that if they are not vigilant, it will happen again to them.

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