By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (4 minute read)
I spent my weekend at the news spigot, which was gushing more information that it was built to handle. And I came away with two conclusions. One is that the Trump administration’s attempts at misinformation have become a legitimate news story. Another is that if you take a long view of what Trump did in his first week in office you get a good picture of where he intends to go – he has set up his case for mass deportations.
Let’s start with Trump’s alternative facts spin machine
There have been specific instances where the Administration’s spokespersons have challenged the validity of verifiable facts and inserted their own “alternative facts” into the public discourse: the size of the inaugural crowd, the prevalence of voter fraud in the November election.
This insistence on ignoring verifiable information and relying on their own, unverified set of facts puts all of their statements in question. They’ve shaken the factual ground for the sake of the president’s image and now have to live with their reputation in the shambles they created. They make stuff up, so how can we believe them?[pullquote]For the purpose of deportation, undocumented people can be considered a criminal if they are charged but no convicted of a crime.[/pullquote]
As for the long view on immigration . . .
. . . there were several items in the president’s executive order on immigration that took president Obama’s deportation policy and expanded it enormously.
The idea was to prioritize undocumented criminals for deportation, which is what the Obama policy had done. But Trump’s order widens the definition of criminal. This is from the Huffington Post:
“Trump’s Executive Order goes after:
- People convicted of any criminal offense, regardless of what the offense was, when it occurred, or the circumstances of the conviction;
- People who haven’t even been convicted of a crime, but have been charged with one;
- People who have simply broken a law, with no charges or convictions resulting;
- People with final administrative deportation orders, no matter how long ago they received the order and their positive ties and contributions; and
- Anyone else Trump’s Deportation Force wants to prioritize.”
So now, for the purpose of deportation, undocumented people can be considered criminal if they are charged but not convicted of a crime, regardless of the severity of the crime (an armed robbery is on the same level as a traffic violation), and regardless of when it happened (a 30 year-old speeding ticket is grounds for deportation).
The second bullet point on the list is the most alarming – undocumented people who haven’t been convicted of a crime, but have been charged with one. All a law enforcement officer needs to do is charge an undocumented person with an offense and that will be grounds for deportation. The charge doesn’t need to be substantiated, or proven. With that alone an undocumented person can be handed to immigration authorities. Eleven million undocumented persons are now targets of false charges for the sake of deportation.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen, I’m saying that Trump’s order makes it possible.
Here’s the part that tries to legitimize the process:
It’s from one of Trump’s executive orders on immigration, under ““Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” It reads:
“To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public, a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and the jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor a detainer.”
This weekly count serves the administration’s purpose of countering the verifiable fact that immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens.
Vox made reference to the “findings of a study from the Immigration Policy Center, which looked at data dating back over 100 years: “Native-born Americans are more likely to be incarcerated than Central American immigrants, and recent increases in immigration occurred as crime actually fell in the US.”
But under the weekly count the immigrants who fail to make an immigration court date – they may have moved in the 5 years it takes to see an immigration judge, or didn’t have transportation on the given day – are considered criminals and the study mentioned in the paragraph above is challenged. The case for mass deportation is bolstered by “alternative facts.”
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[Screenshot courtesy of C-SPAN]