Friday, July 22, 2016
Music Break: Juanes, Tom Morello, and Fher Olvera Black Magic Woman / Oye Como Va Santana Kennedy Center Honors
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first eight months of FY 2016 the government reported 25,680 new criminal prosecutions for illegal entry, and 20,628 new criminal prosecutions for illegal re-entry. Illegal re-entry charges under Title 8 Section 1326 of the United States Code are a felony, while illegal entry prosecutions under Title 8 Section 1325 are only a petty misdemeanor. These comparisons of the number of defendants charged with offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.
Illegal Entry. If the pace of criminal prosecutions during the first eight months of FY 2016 continue at the same rate, the annual number of prosecutions for illegal entry will total 38,520 for this fiscal year. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by TRAC, this estimate is up 7.7 percent over the past fiscal year when the number of illegal entry prosecutions totaled 35,770.
Illegal Re-Entry. In contrast, the pace of prosecutions this year for illegal re-entry is down. For these more serious felony prosecutions, TRAC estimates their number will total 30,942 for this fiscal year, assuming the same pace continues for the rest of FY 2016. This would represent an 8.4 percent decline from the past fiscal year when the number of illegal re-entry prosecutions totaled 33,795.
Long Term Trends. The long term trend in prosecutions for these matters going back to FY 1996 is shown more clearly in Figures 1 and 2. The vertical bars in each time series graph represent the number of prosecutions of this type recorded each fiscal year. Projected figures for the current fiscal year are shown. Each presidential administration is distinguished by the color of the bars.
Immigration Article of the Day: Deportation Without Representation: The Access-to-Justice Crisis Facing New Jersey's Immigrant Families by Lori A. Nessel and Farrin R. Anello
Deportation Without Representation: The Access-to-Justice Crisis Facing New Jersey's Immigrant Families by Lori A. Nessel, Seton Hall University - School of Law, and Farrin R. Anello, Seton Hall University School of Law June 1, 2016 Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice, 2016
Abstract: New Jersey presents unique immigration circumstances. The American Immigration Council reports that 21% of New Jersey’s residents are immigrants, whereas immigrants comprise only 12.9% of the entire U.S. population. Approximately half of New Jersey’s immigrant population is comprised of naturalized U.S. citizens, and this group accounts for 18.8% of the state’s voters. In 2011, 29% of New Jersey’s business owners were foreign-born. In 2006, New Jersey’s immigrants contributed approximately $47 billion to the gross state product.
This report affirms that case outcomes for immigrants seeking permission to remain on U.S. soil are closely tied to the availability of legal representation, and highlights the paucity of legal resources available to meet immigrants’ needs in New Jersey.
During the time period covered in the study, approximately 66% of those detained throughout their immigration court proceedings never secured legal representation, in contrast with about 20% of those who were not detained at any point during proceedings. Immigrants with representation, detained or otherwise, were at least 3 times as likely to obtain a successful outcome as those who were not represented. For example, among those who were detained throughout and unrepresented, only 14% avoided removal, whereas detained individuals who secured representation prevailed in 49% of the cases. The report also assesses the level of resources available to New Jersey’s immigrant population, surveying approximately one dozen nonprofit organizations that provided low- or no-cost representation to individuals in removal proceedings before the New Jersey immigration courts in 2013 and 2014.
The survey responses indicate that most of the nonprofit organizations staff between two and four attorneys, and levels of funding varied among public and private grants and donations, and indicate that New Jersey lacks sufficient salaried attorney positions to address even a small percentage of the total cases entering the courts.
The report, prepared by Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice, was published on behalf of the Working Group on Immigrant Representation in New Jersey. The Group was assembled and chaired by Judge Michael. A. Chagares of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and comprises a consortium of organizations seeking to increase access to quality free and low-cost immigration legal services in the state of New Jersey. Entities represented in the Working Group include the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, American Friends Service Committee, Casa Esperanza, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Jersey, Kids in Need of Defense, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Human Rights First, Legal Services of New Jersey, Lowenstein Sandler, Make the Road New Jersey, Rutgers University School of Law, and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
Seton Hall Law students Branca Banic ’16, Justin Condit ’15, Holly Coppens ’16, Amy Cuzzolino ’16, Jaime DeBartolo ’15, Anthony D’Elia ’16, Danielle King ’16, Victoria Leblein ’16, and Vani Parti ’15 prepared the report under the supervision of Professors Nessel and Anello.
From Black Lives Matter:
STATEMENT: Black Lives Matter Responds to Donald J. Trump’s Acceptance Speech at Republican National Convention
Cleveland, OH — [Last night's] acceptance speech from Republican Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump was possibly the most negative acceptance speech in recorded history. In his 75 minutes on stage, the nominee —whether couched in dog-whistling or outright yelling— managed to vilify and criminalize good people of all walks ranging from Latino immigrants, to Muslims, to Black people to which the co-founders of Black Lives Matter have issued the following response:
“The terrifying vision that Donald J. Trump is putting forward casts him alongside some of the worst fascists in history.
“Black people and our allies have unequivocally demanded a new path forward for safety in our communities, one that involves real accountability for police.
“While our movement envisions a bright future where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, Trump is proposing a new, dark age where police have carte blanche authority to terrorize our communities.
“Whether it was Richard Nixon unleashing a war on drugs or George Wallace’s more overt war on Black people, we’ve heard it all before and won’t be fooled again,” said Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter.
“The terrorist on our televisions tonight was Donald Trump. He pledged to fight for Americans, while threatening the vast majority of this country with imprisonment, deportation and a culture of abject fear.
“His doublespeak belies his true nature: a charlatan who will embolden racists and destroy communities of color. He is a disgrace. White people of conscience must forcefully reject this hatred immediately,” said Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter.
GOP Nominee Reaffirms Ban on Muslim Immigration, Invokes Fears of Immigrant Crime, and Calls for Mass Deportations
In his quest for the presidency, Donald Trump continues to play on the fears of Americans.
In accepting the Republican nomination for President at the Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Donald Trump clarified his call for an immigration ban and said that the nation must suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until the U.S. improves its vetting methods.
Trump didn't budge from his combative immigration stance as he wrapped up the Republican National Convention. He officially accepted the GOP nomination for president by telling a pumped-up crowd that the nation's security is under threat from immigrants and illegal immigration.
During the speech, Republican National Convention delegates chanted "build the wall" as Trump discussed immigration. Trump relayed a story of a young college graduate allegedly killed by an immigrant.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Photo: Plastic Jesus
The Los Angeles artist known as Plastic Jesus has built a 6 inch wall around Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The wall was topped with razor wire, had miniature US flags on all four corners, and included 'Keep Out' signs in Spanish and English.
The wall first appeared on Tuesday afternoon and was gone by Wednesday morning. It lives on in Instagram memory.
Also today, the four ACLU affiliates at the nation’s Southwest border dispatched letters to 40 healthcare providers that cover 110 facilities — from San Diego to Houston—detailing the rights and responsibilities of hospital personnel when confronted by federal agents who request they perform invasive and illegal body cavity searches. Last year the University Medical Center of El Paso paid the same woman — referred to in the lawsuit as Jane Doe to protect her privacy — a $1.1 million settlement for its collusion in the invasive searches.
“While we are pleased to have obtained justice for our client, this is really a victory for residents of border communities, who shouldn’t have to fear interactions with the thousands of border agents in their midst,” said Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas. “Of course, this result could not have been achieved without Ms. Doe’s courage and perseverance. Had she succumbed to the threats of CBP agents and remained silent, who knows how many others might have suffered a similarly despicable experience.”
The ordeal began when a drug-sniffing dog allegedly “alerted” on the ACLU’s client as she attempted to return from Mexico to her home in the U.S. Agents subjected her to a strip search at the border station, examining her genitals and anus with a flashlight. No contraband was found. The agents nevertheless transported Ms. Doe to University Medical Center, where over the course of six hours she suffered an observed bowel movement, an X-ray, a speculum exam of her vagina, a bimanual vaginal and rectal exam, and a CT scan. These procedures were conducted without Ms. Doe’s consent or a search warrant.
Having found no contraband, CBP agents offered Ms. Doe a choice to either sign a medical consent form or be billed for the cost of the searches. Ms. Doe refused to sign, and was later billed $5,488.51.
“It is inexcusable that government agents, men and women sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, violated Ms. Doe in such a horrific manner,” said Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico, “This settlement puts border agents on notice that brutality against border residents will not be tolerated, and stands as a reminder to hospitals of their rights and responsibilities towards the communities they serve. No one should ever again have to endure a protracted and agonizing nightmare like Ms. Doe did.”
“Doctors and law enforcement officers are entrusted with the sacred responsibility of looking after our health and safety, and Ms. Doe’s unspeakable ordeal represents an unforgivable violation of that trust,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “These atrocities were committed with our money and in our name, and it’s not enough to hold those who committed them to account. We must also ensure that that every law enforcement officer and every hospital staff member understands the consequences of so intimately and egregiously violating someone’s rights.”
In addition to the financial award, the settlement requires CBP to undertake additional training for hundreds of line officers and supervisors. There are currently tens of thousands of federal agents deployed to the Southwest border and calls by some lawmakers to swell the ranks further.
This settlement is one of the largest of its kind ever reached over violations involving an individual search. Ms. Doe is deeply traumatized by her experience and continues to suffer emotional and psychological after effects.
A copy of the original complaint may be found at:
Sample letter from ACLU affiliates to hospitals:
Full list of hospitals receiving the advisement may be found here:
Julianne Hing is at the RNC writing for The Nation:
At the Republican National Convention, nighttime is for speeches, and daytime is for protest. On Wednesday, the day’s marquee protest was #WallOffTrump, an action organized by the Latino organizing hub Mijente, as well as Ruckus Society, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Working Families Party, and other organizations. The groups decided to bring the wall that Donald Trump has boasted about so much to his party’s front door. The immigrant-rights action, entirely peaceful, never devolved into scuffles, while a separate protest that followed later in the afternoon resulted in 18 arrests when protesters attempted to burn an American flag in the same intersection.
“We’re here because he’s been calling for a wall, he’s been asking for it, and we’re bringing it,” said Brenda Perez, an organizer from Nashville with the #Not1More campaign, which fights to end deportations. “We want to wall off the hate.” See a photo and read more here.
Hailey Branson-Potts for the Los Angeles Times reports on an interest lawsuit involving the issuance of a passport.
Dana Zzyym wanted to apply for a U.S. passport. Thee application, however, offered only two gender choices: male or female.
For Zzyym, neither was accurate. Zzyym was born with ambiguous genitalia and identifies as intersex, neither male nor female. Zzyym was denied a passport after the State Department declined to let Zzyym use the gender marker “X.”
Zzyym, a Navy veteran, has sued the State Department, saying the federal government violated the Constitution’s guarantees of due process rights and discriminated against Zzyym based on gender. The suit names Secretary of State John F. Kerry as a defendant and alleges that in order to get a passport, Zzyym would have had to lie under penalty of perjury.
The 2016 Central States Law Schools Association conference will take place at UND in Grand Forks, ND, on September 23 and 24.
The conference is not subject specific, but usually includes panels on immigration, international law, and criminal law. From experience, I can report that CSLSA provides a friendly, intimate, and collegial setting in which to present scholarship. It's open to both junior and senior scholars.
Although CSLSA is a regional association of law schools, membership is not a prerequisite to attend and present. Faculty from all schools are welcome.
For those who hope to visit all 50 states, this is a rare opportunity to cross North Dakota off your bucket list.
Registration is open now through September 1.
I hope to see you in North Dakota!
The Associated Press reports that the backlog in the federal immigration court system has hit half a million pending cases. has learned. The Executive Office for Immigration Review said that there are currently 500,051 pending immigration cases in the agency's courts. The backlog has been steadily rising in recent years. Since 2011 more than 200,000 cases have been added to the court's docket and backlog is likely to continue growing.
"The refugee crisis was already leading to the slow disintegration of the European Union. Then, on June 23, it contributed to an even greater calamity — Brexit. Both of these crises have reinforced xenophobic, nationalist movements across the continent. They will try to win a series of key votes in the coming year — including national elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany in 2017, a referendum in Hungary on EU refugee policy on Oct. 2, a rerun of the Austrian presidential election on the same day, and a constitutional referendum in Italy in October or November of this year.
Rather than uniting to resist this threat, EU member states have become increasingly unwilling to cooperate with one another. They pursue self-serving, discordant migration policies, often to the detriment of their neighbors. In these circumstances, a comprehensive and coherent European asylum policy is not possible in the short term, despite the efforts of the EU’s governing body, the European Commission. The trust needed for cooperation is lacking. It will have to be rebuilt through a long and laborious process.
This is unfortunate, because a comprehensive policy ought to remain the highest priority for European leaders; the union cannot survive without it. The refugee crisis is not a one-off event; it augurs a period of higher migration pressures for the foreseeable future, due to a variety of causes including demographic and economic imbalances between Europe and Africa, unending conflicts in the broader region, and climate change. Beggar-thy-neighbor migration policies, such as building border fences, will not only further fragment the union; they also seriously damage European economies and subvert global human rights standards."
Soros calls for cooperation in Europe on refugees:
"The refugee crisis is not the only crisis Europe has to face, but it is the most pressing. And if significant progress could be made on the refugee issue, it would make the other issues — from the continuing Greek debt crisis to the fallout from Brexit to the challenge posed by Russia — easier to tackle. All the pieces need to fit together, and the chances of success remain slim. But as long as there is a strategy that might succeed, all the people who want the European Union to survive should rally behind it."
Immigration Article of the Day: Cosmopolitan Democracy and the Detention of Immigrant Families by Rebecca A. Sharpless
, University of Miami - School of Law, June 14, 2016, New Mexico Law Review, Forthcoming,
University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-28
Abstract: The United States has engaged in shifting decisions about the mass detention of immigrant families from Central America. Faced with a “surge” of women and their children crossing the border without authorization, the United States dramatically increased its capacity to detain immigrant families from about a hundred to over three thousand. Immigration officials vowed to hold the family members, most of whom were seeking asylum, until their cases were complete. Yet six months after opening a mammoth family detention center, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that the U.S. government was making “substantial changes” to its family detention policy and would discontinue long-term detention of women traveling with their children who had made a threshold showing for asylum. Lawyers, law students, and other advocates mobilized to represent the families and played a pivotal role in reversing the decision to detain the families for the long term. Today, families continue to cross the border and, at least for now, U.S. immigration authorities are abiding by their more humane detention policy.
This Article employs the cosmopolitan political theory of Seyla Benhabib as a framework for understanding the U.S. government’s shifting decisions about family detention and immigration policy change more generally. The United States’ decisions about how to treat the surge families reflects different ways of resolving what Benhabib identifies as a constitutive tension of liberal democracies: that between principles of universal application, like human dignity and freedom of movement, and concerns relating to self-determination, like border control. Benhabib subscribes to a discourse theory of democratic change that is both normative and descriptive about the role of rationality in establishing norms and institutions in liberal democracies. But the shift in family detention policy was largely the result of strategic lawyering, mobilizing, and resistance strategies, not rational dialogue within government and civil society. This Article examines the limitations, and radical possibilities, of how immigrants and their advocates might edge the United States toward Benhabib’s vision of a cosmopolitan democracy with more porous boundaries.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Law Student Katie Kelly: Movimiento Democracia, Inc. v. Johnson, The Feet Wet/Feet Dry Policy's Latest Application
Law student Katie Kelly writes this summary of the latest application of the "feet we/feet dry policy" as applied to Cuban migrants:
Movimiento Democracia, Inc., et al. v. Jeh Charles Johnson (S.D. Fla. June 28, 2016) centers around twenty-four Cuban migrants who were spotted on a vessel and approached by the Coast Guard to be detained. The migrants armed themselves with metal pipes, jumped into the ocean, and swam to the American Shoal Lighthouse, seven miles south of Sugarloaf Key, Florida, within United States sea territory. The water beneath the Lighthouse is at least four feet deep. The Coast Guard determined that the presence at the Lighthouse fell under wet-foot rule, and the migrants would be processed at sea, rather than as dry-foot migrants on land. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service concluded that the migrants were due no protection and could be returned to their home country. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to be declared to have reached dry U.S. land and provided relief as Cuban refugees.
- Did the Coast Guard abuse its discretion in finding the migrants to be wet-foot, thus denying the migrants protection under the Cuban Adjustment Act?
- Are these Cuban migrants entitled to due process and equal protections rights under the Constitution?
- No, the Coast Guard did not abuse its discretion by denying protections to the migrants because the Coast Guard did not act unreasonably in determining that Plaintiffs were “wet foot,” despite reaching the Lighthouse.
- No, having been properly screened and afforded due process, these migrants are not entitled to constitutional protections because aliens interdicted on the high seas (outside of the U.S.) are not entitled to protections under the Constitution.
Using Gonzalez deference, the Court determined that the Coast Guard’s decision regarding the migrants’ wet-foot/dry-foot status was reasonable, finding that the Lighthouse was merely a navigation tool and did not constitute dry land of the United States. Gonzalez v. Reno, 212 F.3d 1338, 1344 (11th Cir. 2000). The Lighthouse has never been connected to dry land, and the migrants would require transport in order to reach the mainland to survive, thus landing at the Lighthouse was virtually no different than having been interdicted at sea. The Court also notes Plaintiff’s armament before arriving at the Lighthouse. Plaintiff’s argument that arrival on the Lighthouse, a federal structure, indicated their presence in the U.S. fails because that interpretation of the definition of “United States” is too broad for Congress’s intent of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which only defines the U.S. as “the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the U.S., and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(38). As the Coast Guard was implementing Executive orders, the Court remains deferential to those orders and neither approves nor disapproves of them.
Marion Crain, Winifred Poster, Miriam Cherry, editors, Arlie Russell Hochschild (Foreword)
Across the world, workers labor without pay for the benefit of profitable businesses—and it's legal. Labor trends like outsourcing and technology hide some workers, and branding and employer mandates erase others. Invisible workers who remain under-protected by wage laws include retail workers who function as walking billboards and take payment in clothing discounts or prestige; waitstaff at “breastaurants” who conform their bodies to a business model; and inventory stockers at grocery stores who go hungry to complete their shifts. Invisible Labor gathers essays by prominent sociologists and legal scholars to illuminate how and why such labor has been hidden from view.
Marion G. Crain is Vice Provost, Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law, and Director for the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital at Washington University.
Miriam A. Cherry is Professor of Law at Saint Louis University.
Winifred R. Poster is a Stanford-trained sociologist affiliated with Washington University.
WaPo's Scott Clement reports that "a significant share of Democrats and Republicans disagree with their party on potential wedge issues" including immigration.
A whopping 60% of U.S. adults would like to see a path to citizenship.
That number includes "[o]ne in three Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters" who want the next president to "support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants." On the other side of the aisle, one out of six Democratic-leaning registered voters would oppose creating a path to citizenship.
Those who strongly disagree with their party's current stance on immigration and find the issue to be critical may be "persuadable" to vote for a candidate not from their political party. That is, immigration has the potential to be a wedge issue in the upcoming election.
Immigration Article of the Day: Midnight Agency Adjudication: Attorney General Review of Board of Immigration Appeals Decisions by Margaret H. Taylor
Abstract: In Advancing Executive Branch Immigration Policy Through The Attorney General’s Review Authority, 101 Iowa L. Rev. 841 (2016), former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Patrick Glen provide a rich history and detailed study of the power of the Attorney General to refer and review decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). Their account is both descriptive and normative. After a review of contemporary decisions where the Attorney General has exercised review authority, Gonzales and Glen conclude that “[i]n many cases, the Attorney General was able, through referral and review, to provide a clear, cogent, and definitive legal or policy prescription for immigration officials on the issue resolved.” They also argue that Attorney General review should happen more often, contrasting “the robust exercise of [review] authority in the George W. Bush administration to the near-absence of usage in the Obama Administration.” Finally, the authors dismiss objections to the fairness and transparency of Attorney General review. Gonzales and Glen conclude that procedural due process objections, which have been voiced most prominently regarding Attorney General Mukasey’s decision in Matter of Silva-Trevino, are ill-founded, and that reform proposals to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard prior to Attorney General review “are premised mostly on superficial gains in the optics of referral” and not worth pursuing.
My response Essay will explore one key aspect of contemporary Attorney General review authority that is not examined in the otherwise comprehensive account provided by Gonzales and Glen: timing. Both Matter of Compean and Matter of Silva-Trevino, which were issued by Attorney General Mukasey and later vacated by Attorney General Holder, were decided after President Obama was elected and before he was inaugurated. And Matter of R-A- was referred by Attorney General Ashcroft to himself just as the functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”), an agency within the Department of Justice, were transferred to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). These are what administrative law scholars might term “midnight agency adjudications,” although the phrase has not been used because this practice has never been examined. Indeed, the rich literature on the topic of regulations promulgated in times of presidential transitions has not yet considered the adjudication analog of an agency head who refers a controversial issue to himself and renders a decision upending agency precedent on his way out the door.
From an administrative law perspective, this is an important phenomenon. The same concerns voiced about midnight rules arise when an agency head in the incumbent administration refers a case to himself to decide on the eve of a presidential transition, particularly when the decision seems rushed and the outcome upends settled agency precedent and is likely to conflict with the policy preferences of the incoming administration. In addition, two key features distinguish midnight agency adjudication from midnight rulemaking — the comparative ease with which a decision can be reversed, and the absence of procedures that require notice and an opportunity to provide input for those who will be impacted by the agency decision. These features create remarkable flexibility for agency policy formulation via referral and review of agency adjudication, but they also raise concerns when an agency head aims to use midnight adjudication to entrench a policy choice in a time of transition. The failure of Gonzales and Glen to acknowledge the prevalence of midnight agency adjudication in their otherwise comprehensive account undermines their conclusions about the efficacy and procedural fairness of the practice.
From 1916 to 1970, more than six million African Americans moved north from the rural South in what was called the Great Migration. Reasons cited for this movement included harsh Jim Crow laws and a lack of economic opportunity. Many people found relief in Northern and Midwestern cities, which had a great need for industrial workers during the beginning of the 20th century, writes Alexis Buchanan in NPQ.
A hundred years later, many of these cities are witnessing an exodus dubbed “The New Great Migration.” Cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and even New York City have lost many thousands of black residents over the last decade, while Southern cities like Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas have seen a surge of black residents during the same period.
This new migration is being led by college-educated people and retirees, some of whom are returning to the very South they left during the height of the original migration. In the early part of the twentieth century, African Americans looking for opportunity headed north. They could earn more working in factories than they could as sharecroppers. The cities embraced them, glad to have workers to meet the industrial demand. Today, the opposite is occurring.
The sea route from Libya to Italy is dangerous, even deadly, for African migrants and refugees who are desperate to cross. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant from PBS reports from a Doctors Without Borders rescue ship that’s attempting to save people victimized in Libya from then dying at sea.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Julianne Hing writes for The Nation:
The soundtrack to opening night of the Republican National Convention was Queen and cheesy covers of the Turtles and the Rolling Stones, but convention organizers might as well have played a dirge. The program was stacked with three bleak hours of speeches from military members, law-enforcement officers, and elected officials, interlaced with a parade of people whose loved ones had been killed at the hands of undocumented immigrants and Islamic extremists. The clear message was that the safety of Americans (read white people) is directly threatened by the free movement of immigrants (namely Latinos), Muslims, and black people who assert their humanity.
The official theme of the evening was “Make America Safe Again,” but it could just as well have been, “Beware the Brown and Black People in Your Midst, They Are Coming to Kill You, and Don’t Forget, All Lives Matter.”
The RNC offered a peek into a worldview defined by strict, and false, binaries. “Radical Islamic terrorists” versus the selfless, cutthroat American killers who took them on in Benghazi. Mark Geist and John Teigen, members of the Benghazi security team, regaled the arena with a blow-by-blow account of their involvement in defending the embassy in 2012. “We heard State Department Security scream over the radio, ‘If you don’t get here now, we are all going to DIE!’ They were under siege. Stand-down orders be damned. We went,” Teigen said at the start of the lengthy recounting. The delegates in Quicken Loans Arena sat in silent rapture listening to the pair’s account, which stretched over at least 25 minutes. Theirs was only one of three segments of the evening devoted exclusively to Benghazi.
Later, Texas Representative Michael McCaul told the crowd about the looming security threats that now materialize with seeming regularity. “We are in the cross hairs,” he said. “Our own city streets have become the battleground.” McCaul listed cities where killers who were alleged to have connections with Muslim extremist groups had gone on killing rampages: Fort Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, and Orlando.
“Let’s cut through the suffocating political correctness,” McCaul said, “The enemy is radical Islam.” McCaul conveniently left off naming places like Charleston, Newtown, Aurora, and Tucson, where white men perpetrated deadly mass shootings. Such incidents presumably don’t comport with his strict dichotomy.
Jamiel Shaw, Mary Ann Mendoza, and Sabine Durden spoke to the crowd’s deepest fears of undocumented immigrants. The group, billed as “immigration-reform advocates,” walked to the stage together. All three lost their sons in separate incidents that involved undocumented immigrants. Mendoza’s son Brandon Mendoza was killed by a drunk driver in Arizona. German immigrant Durden’s son Dominic Durden was killed by undocumented immigrant driving a pickup truck, “from Guatemala,” she took care to point out. “I call them illegal aliens,” Durden emphasized. Shaw’s son Jamiel Shaw, Jr. was 17 when Pedro Espinoza, then a 19-year-old and a member of the 18th Street Gang, mistook Shaw for a rival gang member and shot him dead. He’s since been sentenced to death for the murder. Read more...