For most of last week, immigration enforcement agents carried out routine operations to detain and deport illegal aliens.
But there is nothing “routine” about America in the age of Donald Trump. After a few businesses and homes were raided, illegal-alien advocates sent out panicked emails warning about immigration-enforcement officials “rounding up” those in the country illegally—most of whom had criminal records and had already been ordered deported from the U.S.
According to Pew Research, there are about 1.4 million illegals in southern California. The 5-day ICE raids netted exactly 160 of them. This is hardly a “round-up” or a “sweep.” But the hysteria ginned up by illegal-immigration advocates caused widespread panic in illegal communities and generated protests against this “inhumane” policy.
The email made no mention of President Trump or his plan to target for deportation a wide swath of the millions of people in the country illegally, but to many people already on edge, a connection seemed clear. Within the hour, scores of protesters had gathered downtown, blocking traffic while angrily denouncing the president. Elected officials followed suit, expressing outrage at Trump and demanding answers about the raids. Authorities in Mexico put out a warning to their citizens living in the U.S.
How’s this for an “answer”: The law will be enforced. If you’ve received due process and are ordered out of the country, one way or another, you’re headed home.
After initially declining to release details, ICE officials on Friday announced that the agency had, in fact, concluded a weeklong operation throughout Southern California that resulted in the arrest of more than 150 people. The agency insisted, however, that the sweep targeted people with criminal records and was no different in size or scope from operations carried out in years past under previous administrations.
In immigrant communities across Southern California, the arrests capped a week of anxiety as they waited for Trump’s promised crackdown. In addition to the federal immigration action, the communities were rattled by widespread false reports on social media of nonexistent raids and police checkpoints aimed at deporting non-citizens.
The situation also left police, politicians and immigration advocates trying to calibrate the right response. For elected officials in the state, who are largely opposed to Trump, it’s been about finding a middle ground that allows them to condemn both the president’s hard-line stance on immigration and criminals in the country illegally.
Meanwhile, local law enforcement scrambled to tamp down the hysteria, with some blaming the immigration rights advocates for crying wolf and heightening fears.
“Stop scaring my community,” said Santa Paula Police Chief Steven McLean, who described activist claims of a raid in his city as false. “Now I’ve got to go ahead and calm people’s fears.”
The group that first sounded the alarm, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA, doubled down on its account Friday, saying the arrests portend a new reality under Trump for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
Other civil liberties groups took a less strident tack, expressing concerns about the lack of information surrounding the arrests while also noting that they had criticized the Obama administration, which deported large numbers of people, usually focusing on those with criminal histories.
Why do these activists want us to line up and wait to become a crime victim of someone who has no business being here in the first place? The illogic of their advocacy to allow criminal aliens to remain in the U.S. is beyond belief.
The idiocy of the open-borders crowd never ceases to amaze.
Immigration lawyers gin up the outrage because it brings them more customers. Activists fundraise by hyping the non-existent, massive round-up of illegals. Politicians preen for the camera and cater to the fears of the immigrant community.
Meanwhile, immigration-enforcement officers go about their business in a routine manner. If anything, the agents feel relief that they are finally being allowed to do their jobs.
Despite the claims that this is business as usual, an indication of the changed tactics came earlier in the week when Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testified before Congress. He told lawmakers immigration agents expressed frustration about that they were not fully allowed to enforce immigration laws under the Obama administration. He predicted Trump’s directives would end that frustration.
“I think their morale has suffered because of the job they were hired to do, and then in their sense, they’re … kind of hobbled or, you know, hands tied behind their back, that kind of thing,” Kelly told the House Homeland Security Committee. “And now, they feel more positive about things. I bet if you watch the morale issue, you’ll … be surprised going forward.”
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, who was previously in charge of the agency’s enforcement and removal operations, earlier this month made a point of noting that his agents would enforce the law.
Enforcing the law is somehow cruel and inhumane? A teeny, tiny fraction of illegals are arrested and this becomes a massive round-up? Exaggeration and hyperbole are the only way that activists can draw attention to their cause, while the reality of the situation gets lost in emotionalism and hysteria.