ICE has lost a good man
His name is James Schwab, and for the past two years he worked as a public affairs officer for the San Francisco division of the immigration law enforcement organization. San Francisco has become controversial in recent years due to the Trump White House and Republican Party’s renewed attack on sanctuary city initiatives, which San Francisco has had since 1989.
Sanctuary cities, for those that do not know, are municipalities with local policies that prevent state law enforcement officials from deporting illegal immigrants. Contrary to the fear-mongering nonsense propagated by conservative outlets, the purpose of sanctuary cities is to actually encourage cooperation between law enforcement and citizens since illegal immigrants are less likely to report crimes to the police if they fear losing family members to deportation.
Schwab no doubt understands that, which made his job much harder when the demonstrably racist Trump Administration directed ICE to increase their deportations in the country in late February 2018. California in particular came under scrutiny when Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly warned her constituents about an upcoming raid in her area. A decision that has earned her a lot of notoriety from the Trump Administration.
Schaaf was soon accused by ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan of protecting “864 criminal aliens and public safety threats,” a number which Schwab claims was nonsensical. Speaking to The San Francisco Chronicle, the former spokesman stated that he tried to get the statement changed, but to no avail:
“I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”
Schwab’s words reveal a level of Orwellian tactics being employed by the Trump Administration. The words “newspeak” and “doublethink” were coined in George Orwell’s “1984” to refer to government attempts at manipulating the public through language.
GOP members and conservative outlets like Fox News have employed explicit lying to justify unethical policies, and illegal immigration is no different, especially since it became a hot button issue under the Trump Administration.
To be fair, there was a good deal of deportation taking place under the Obama Administration, as well. But the situation is significantly different due to Obama’s enactment of DACA. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was an Obama era policy that allowed undocumented immigrants that came to the country as minors to be given eligibility for a work permit and a renewable two-year delay on expulsion from the country (deferred action). The rule resulted in close to 700,000 individuals being protected from deportation.
Of course Trump, in an attempt to both appease his bigoted base and destroy Obama’s legacy, ended DACA in September 2017 under the apparent justification that congress needed to come up with an official law on it over the White House.
Though Democrats have attempted to fight back against this, their minority control of both Houses has prevented anything from being done. Two government shutdowns were initiated in the past, but with 2018 being a midterm year the party could not risk hurting their constituents by extending the shutdown and hampering the distribution of social security checks.
All of these reasons are why winning back Congress is imperative for the Democratic Party. The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of individuals are at risk because of Trump, and he won’t stop so long as he has the power.