US Officials Defend Deportation of Thousands: The Biden Government’s Massive Show of Force Against Haitian migrants, Del Rio, Texas
US launches mass expulsion of Haitian migrants from Texas
DEL RIO, Texas — The U.S. is flying Haitians camped in a Texas border town back to their homeland and blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico in a massive show of force that signals the beginning of what could be one of America’s swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades. In all, U.S. authorities moved to expel many of the more than 12,000 migrants camped around a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. Mexico also said it would deport Haitian migrants, and began busing them from Ciudad Acuña Sunday evening, according to Luis Angel Urraza, president of the local chamber of commerce.
When the border was closed Sunday, the migrants initially found other ways to cross nearby until they were confronted by federal and state law enforcement. An Associated Press reporter saw Haitian immigrants still crossing the river into the U.S. about 1.5 miles east of the previous spot, but they were eventually stopped by Border Patrol agents on horseback and Texas law enforcement officials.
The rapid expulsions were made possible by a pandemic-related authority adopted by former President Donald Trump in March 2020 that allows for migrants to be immediately removed from the country without an opportunity to seek asylum. President Joe Biden exempted unaccompanied children from the order but let the rest stand.
— Juan A. Lozano, Eric Gay, Elliot Spagat and Evens Sanon, US launches mass expulsion of Haitian migrants from Texas
Associated Press, 20 September 2021.
US officials defend deportation of Haitians from Texas town
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from an encampment at a Texas border town, U.S. officials said Monday as they defended a strong response that included immediately deporting migrants to their impoverished Caribbean country and using horse patrols to stop them from entering the town.
Mayorkas and Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said they would look into agents on horseback using what appeared to be whips and their horses to push back migrants at the river between Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of migrants remain camped around a bridge.
Both officials said they saw nothing apparently wrong based on the widely seen photos and video. Mayorkas said agents use long reins, not whips, to control their horses. Ortiz, the former chief of the Del Rio sector, said it can be confusing to distinguish between migrants and smugglers as people moved back and forth near the river. The chief said he would investigate to make sure there was nounacceptableactions by the agents.
Mayorkas said 600 Homeland Security employees, including from the Coast Guard, have been brought to Del Rio, a city of about 35,000 people roughly 145 miles (230 kilometers) west of San Antonio. He said he has asked the Defense Department for help in what may be one of the swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants and refugees from the United States in decades.
We’re achieving our goals; we’re getting there and getting to a point where we can manage the population here,said Ortiz, who blamed the surge on smugglers who spread misinformation.We are already seeing a quickly diminished (population) and will continue to see that over the coming days.
— Juan A. Lozano, Eric Gay, Elliot Spagat and Evens Sanon, US officials defend deportation of Haitians from Texas Town
Associated Press, 20 September 2021.
I don’t have anything clever to say today about this quote, unquote,
massive show of force. It is no surprise seeing this come from the present government’s border patrol. But it is appalling, and it is shameful. And of course it is unacceptable. It’s not unacceptable because of the horses or the reins or any particular act of thuggish behavior. It is unacceptable because the policy is unacceptable, appalling and shameful because the politics are appalling and shameful, precisely because the border patrol just carried out
one of the swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants and refugees from the United States in decades, and because, having done so, they can truthfully say quote, unquote,
We’re achieving our goals; we’re getting there and getting to a point where we can manage the population here. The goals that this government is achieving are despicable. The means that it is employing to achieve them are deplorable. There is no nation on Earth that is worth treating people like this, let alone treating thousands of desperate people like this when they seek nothing but to be left free to go in peace. The authorities say that they have to do this for humanitarian reasons, because there are far too many people penned up in far too little space in a pair of little border towns that cannot support them. This is the most maddening sort of upside-down political logic; of course it is only because of the armed force of this population-managing Progressive President’s paramilitary border patrol that anyone was camped out in Del Rio or Ciudad Acuña, rather than traveling peacefully through the rest of the United States, which unquestionably has more than enough room for them to find accommodations. But we have the vile, sick joke of wringing hands and professing this agonized concern from the very people who have spent all this time standing in their way to keep them penned up in squalid and dangerous open-air camps, and then charging them to force them back, and then rounding them up to send thousands of peaceful people back into the very places that they have made every effort to escape. To hell with that, and to hell with the politics and politicians who do that. There is no politic, no policy, no party, no goal or goddam
Strong Response that could justify or excuse it. There is no national border more important than a single human life, no national policy that can defend deporting even one innocent traveler, let alone treating thousands of travelers as cruelly as this.
Two Libertarians and a Mutualist Walk Into A Bar, and the Bartender Says “Sorry Mac, Sunday Sales are Prohibited!” (Three New Items in the Fair Use Repository)
Here’s a small brace of new items that I’ve added just now to Fair Use Repository. They are hypertext transcriptions based on material that I read and copied, with gratitude and thanks, during a research trip some years back to the Labadie Collection in the University of Michigan Libraries.
I’m starting in on work for the first issue of Clarence L. Swartz and Charles T. Sprading’s magazine, The Libertarian, which began publication in 1923. The magazine was the official organ of Sprading’s
Libertarian Leagueorganization, which focused primarily on education work in opposition to
Blue Laws, prohibition and morals legislation; Swartz served as editor of the magazine. Transcriptions of the essays in the inaugural issue of THE LIBERTARIAN are in progress; I recently put up an image of the front cover (which is kind of amazing), and two programmatic statements about the purpose and principles of the League and the magazine, What Is The Libertarian League? (C. C. Vincent) and Principles of the Libertarian League as approved by the organization.
I also added Edward H. Fulton, The Question of Wages: A Man’s Just Wage Is His Product (October 1925), a new article from Fulton’s small paper The Mutualist.
Read, cite and enjoy!
The Police Beat, 20th Anniversary Edition: “The tools developed in the aftermath of the attacks proved to be useful in fighting street crime, too.”
When political people talk about giving broad new powers to police, regulators or government spies — especially when political people talk about allowing them extraordinary powers to conduct surveillance, to use information gathered from surveillance, and to detain, interrogate or arrest people based on extraordinary surveillance — they almost always use insidiously banal phrases to suggest that such powers are no big deal, just common sense, and also vitally necessary to essential social benefits. One of the worst is to say something like, giving law enforcement the tools they need to fight terrorism (or dangerous extremism, or organized crime, or just crime in general, or…). The problem is that state powers are not like tools. They aren’t something that you could keep on a belt or put in your hand, or that you could just hand over as-is to some carpenter who will wield them on your behalf. They aren’t things at all; they are processes and permission structures.
Police powers are political powers, and political powers aren’t like a hammer that you aim and swing; they are more like a fire that you set. Whatever you had in mind when you set it, they don’t just have some one-off target; they have dynamic, evolving effects, which operate according to hard-to-control, self-feeding and destructive dynamics that are damned hard to contain and terrible when allowed to burn unchecked.
One of the most obvious examples has been the way that many big-city police departments — including publicity-sensitive, diversity-conscious police departments in big cities that are overwhelmingly liberal and governed by the most
Progressive Democrats — have absorbed massive, sweeping and invasive surveillance powers that were supposedly justified by the alleged needs of
counter-terrorism, and modeled on the powers sought and used by armed forces and intelligence services in times of war, as for example after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
For 20 years now, these powers have been politically and technologically expanded, augmented, honed and subsidized. And they have been turned to an ever-expanding, open-ended, infinitely generative range of
strategic and tactical purposes — against street gangs, against the drug trade, against routine street crime, against extremist beliefs, against religious minorities, against political protest, …. The war policies that provided the rationale for introducing these extraordinary powers have long since shifted, dialed down, or ended. The environment of threats and security priorities that these extraordinary
counter-terrorism powers were supposedly introduced to combat has evolved as that has happened, to the point that 20 years on there is effectively almost nothing recognizable left of the stimulus, only the same, constant, endless police response, which lives on forever in an endless process of mission creep, finding rationale after rationale and application after application, no matter how much or how far or how long the world leaves the original mission behind.
Two decades after the attack on New York City, the Police Department is using counterterrorism tools and tactics to combat routine street crime.
The Police Department has poured resources into expanding its surveillance capabilities. The department’s budget for intelligence and counterterrorism has more than quadrupled, spending more than $3 billion since 2006, and more through funding streams that are difficult to quantify, including federal grants and the secretive Police Foundation, a nonprofit that funnels money and equipment to the department from benefactors and donors.
Current and former police officials say the tools have been effective in thwarting dozens of would-be attacks. And the department has an obligation, they say, to repurpose its counterterrorism tools for everyday crime fighting.
— Ali Watkins, How the N.Y.P.D. Is Using Post-9/11 Tools on Everyday New Yorkers
New York Times, 8 September 2021
Meanwhile across the country:
The Los Angeles police department (LAPD) has directed its officers to collect the social media information of every civilian they interview, including individuals who are not arrested or accused of a crime, according to records shared with the Guardian.
The copies of the cards obtained by the Brennan Center also revealed that police are instructed to ask civilians for their social security numbers and are advised to tell interviewees that “it must be provided” under federal law. Kathleen Kim, a Loyola law professor and immigrants’ rights expert, who previously served on the LA police commission, said she was not aware of any law requiring individuals to disclose social security numbers to local police.
The extent of the LAPD’s Media Sonar use is unclear, but the company’s communications with the LAPD have raised questions. In one message, the firm said its services can be used to “stay on-top of drug/gang/weapon slang keywords and hashtags”. Levinson-Waldman said she feared the company or police would misinterpret “slang” or lack proper context on local groups and language, and she noted research showing that online threats made by gang-affiliated youth largely don’t escalate to violence.
— Sam Levin, Revaled: LAPD officers told to collect social media data on every civilian they stop
The Guardian, 8 September 2021.
The point, of course, is not that this is a reason to hand over sweeping extraordinary powers in a very narrowly limited context and then try to vigilantly constrain them to that original context (say, to genuine counterterrorism efforts) through some clever policy. Nor is it to hand over sweeping extraordinary powers and then hope that you can persuade the police to use them only against the right sort of targets (say, against international jihadists or right-wing extremists or whoever else you might think you want police to target). It’s a reason to oppose handing over sweeping extraordinary surveillance powers in the first place, at all. You can’t control it. It will burn you in the end. If not confronted and curtailed or rooted out, it will live on long after any and all of the supposed targets are long gone.
You can take the War out of the Forever, but you can’t take the Forever out of the War.
From a recent episode of the Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day podcast. The poet, Thomas Lux, says that the poem comes from a story he heard about the swimming pool at an island hotel; he has no idea whether the bit about the lifebuoys in the swimming pool was true or not.
Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy
By Thomas Lux
For some semitropical reason
when the rains fall
relentlessly they fall
into swimming pools, these otherwise
bright and scary
arachnids. They can swim
a little, but not for long
and they can’t climb the ladder out.
They usually drown—but
if you want their favor,
if you believe there is justice,
a reward for not loving
the death of ugly
and even dangerous (the eel, hog snake,
rats) creatures, if
you believe these things, then
you would leave a lifebuoy
or two in your swimming pool at night.
And in the morning
you would haul ashore
the huddled, hairy survivors
and escort them
back to the bush, and know,
be assured that at least these saved,
as individuals, would not turn up
in your hat, drawer,
or the tangled underworld
of your socks, and that even—
when your belief in justice
merges with your belief in dreams—
they may tell the others
in a sign language
four times as subtle
and complicated as man’s
that you are good,
that you love them,
that you would save them again.
— Thomas Lux (1986)
In Half Promised Land, reprinted in New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995.