While they don’t crop up too often, these are some of the favorite stories for left-side media to focus on. Illegal aliens, working as journalists (though it remains unclear how they manage to get paid without someone breaking even more laws), get picked up by ICE and detained for possible deportation. It’s a violation of the First Amendment! It’s the administration trying to silence journalists! You know the drill by now.
Another of these situations arose in Tennessee when Manuel Duran, the publisher of a website called Memphis Noticias, was arrested during a protest in April. He was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a highway or passageway, with police noting that he did not have a valid United States ID. Shortly after his release, he was taken into custody by ICE. The outcry over this supposed suppression of journalism is taken up at the Daily Beast.
A court petition filed by the SPLC said that Duran, through Memphis Noticias, reported on police shootings, individual incidents of police misconduct, demonstrations calling for law-enforcement accountability, MPD collaboration with ICE, and local ICE enforcement actions and the resulting hardship on immigrant families.
Duran also mentioned he wrote about about a man whose body was found in a vehicle at the police impoundment lot.
The petition further argued that the “Detention of Mr. Duran Ortega is a direct result of Memphis law enforcement officers’ and ICE officers’ illegal and unconstitutional actions in targeting, arresting, detaining, and seeking to deport Mr. Duran Ortega. MPD unlawfully arrested Mr. Duran Ortega to silence and retaliate against him.”
Duran told The Daily Beast, in an interview conducted in Spanish, that he was “without a doubt” arrested for his journalism.
That seems to be the company line so far. Duran (who also mysteriously goes by the name Duran Ortega sometimes) was “targeted.” It was all because of his journalism and publishing of videos of Memphis police arresting people or getting up to other nefarious activities. That would certainly be a disturbing story, but do you suppose there’s any other possible reason that ICE might have been interested in Duran?
You have to read down a dozen or more paragraphs to learn the details, but Mr. Duran Ortega “came to the country” in 2006 from El Salvador. Details are sketchy (as you might imagine) but within a year he was in trouble, having missed an immigration hearing. A removal order was issued but Duran was still fighting it. But the fact remains that neither the Memphis Police Department nor ICE just “suddenly” noticed Duran and decided to “target” him. He’d been under an order of removal for more than a decade but had managed to dodge it until now. Being arrested yet again, even for a relatively minor disturbance charge, was more cause than ICE needed to act.
But he’s still being held up as the victim here. It’s reminiscent of Jose Antonio Vargas, who was finally arrested some years ago. The funny thing is, he’s still in the country. And he’s once again taunting law enforcement. If we can’t even manage to ship that guy back to the Philippines, maybe Duran doesn’t have much to worry about after all.