The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has found something else to complain about and what better choice than to jump on the dogpile currently bashing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Unlike the Democrats, who want to defund and essentially abolish ICE entirely, the ACLU is taking issue with how the agency determines who will be arrested and scheduled for either prosecution or deportation. According to the group, ICE is “targeting” certain high profile illegal aliens who are in the news, working as “activists” for the illegal immigrant community. (The Hill)
Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union told NPR that they had identified more than 20 instances of immigration activists or volunteers who were arrested or fined by ICE, and claimed that the agency only became aware of them because of their activism.
“We’re always at the marches and giving interviews, without fear of what could happen,” Zully Palacios Rodriguez, one activist caught by ICE, told NPR. “So to go against us is a way to intimidate the community.”
ICE has denied that it is targeting activists, saying that all people who are violating immigration laws “may be subject to arrest, detention and … removal from the United States.”
What their spokesperson is actually saying while dancing around the words they don’t like, is that certain illegal immigrants who go public, lead marches, do television interviews and otherwise make themselves highly visible, sometimes wind up being arrested in the next ICE sweep. This is apparently viewed as somehow being unfair or unsportsmanlike in the eyes of the illegal alien “community.”
Are you really surprised? As the agency said in their response, while they definitely prioritize violent felons first, anyone who is in the country illegally is subject to arrest, detention and removal from the country at any time. And If they’re in town conducting a sweep and you’re on television announcing where and when you’ll be leading the next march, well… you’re making their job awfully easy, don’t you think? It’s also worth asking how we got to the point where illegal aliens (who are criminals by definition) wound up having “activists” and community organizations holding public events in the first place. You never see bank robbers around the country banding together and nominating spokesmen to go on CNN and talk about how they’re being targeted.
Also, there is absolutely a reason for ICE to make the extra effort to pick up these “activists.” Their alleged activism is in support of people who are breaking the law and they don’t need any public support. By going on television and giving interviews, they’re basically wagging their fingers in the face of law enforcement and saying, “Look at me! I’m here illegally and you can’t touch me!” That sends entrely the wrong message, so it’s obviously worth the time for ICE to swing by and pick them up.
This is identical to the situation we saw a few years back with the illegal immigrant journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. He was actually writing columns and doing national cable news appearances on a regular basis while openly admitting that he didn’t have a single document showing he could be in the country legally. In 2014 we learned that he was “reporting” from an immigrant shelter in McAllen, Texas and was worried whether or not he’d be able to make it out of there without being detained. I immediately tossed up a post here at Hot Air beseeching ICE to get somebody down there and grab him if they were serious about doing their jobs. I even included a picture of Vargas.
He’s out there on an almost daily basis, showing up on a network which is broadcast to every nation in the world. And the message he’s sending is clear. “Look at me! I’m here illegally. I don’t have any documents. And I’m on the TeeVee! I produce films. I get paid to write columns in nationally syndicated sources. And nobody can lay a finger on me!”
Is that the message you want out there? Is this not adding to the “confusion” among Central American residents thinking of sneaking over the border?…
That’s him! That’s the guy! He’s in McAllen, Texas. (Here’s a Google map in case you’re lost.) He’s at an immigrant shelter down by the border. And the guy isn’t just going to blend in with all the other border jumpers from Mexico and Central America. He’s from the Philippines, so he should stand out like a sore thumb. And he’s traveling with a film crew! How hard can it be to locate him?
This is your moment, ICE. Go do your jobs.
While I’m sure it had nothing to do with my humble post, ICE did indeed show up in McAllen and arrest Vargas. His daily broadcasts showing how easy it was to flout our laws (and make a fine living doing so) came to an end, at least for a while. It also sent a powerful message to other illegal aliens. So in answer to the ACLU I would simply point out that ICE has been doing this for a while now. And there’s no reason for them to slow down.