VOX: THINK TRUMP IS GOING TO KEEP HIS PROMISE TO CRACK DOWN ON WHITE SUPREMACISTS? — NOT LIKELY, THEY ARE A KEY PART OF HIS “BASE!”

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/14/16144598/trump-white-terrorism

Dara Lind writes:

“The president of the United States finally condemned white supremacist violence in Charlottesville on Monday, two days after an initial statement that blamed “both sides” for violence largely instigated by far-right activists (including a car attack on counterprotesters that killed one person and injured 19).

But the only part of his remarks that appeared to promise that he was devoting not just words, but action, to the problem of right-wing extremism in America — “We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear” — was actually the most hollow.

On Saturday, too, Trump promised to get to the root of the problem: “We want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.” The problem is that his administration has already indicated that it thinks it knows the answers to these problems. It’s cut funding for outreach to counter white supremacism, while pushing punitive “law and order” responses to civil unrest.

Trump’s willingness to explicitly say that white supremacism is bad (even if it’s only offered in response to criticism) is worth at least something — it’s a nod in the direction that white supremacism is an ideology that ought to be ostracized. But his administration’s actions threaten to undermine any value in countering white supremacism that Trump’s rhetoric might have had.

The Trump administration has systematically rejected efforts to counter right-wing violence

Barely a week after President Trump was inaugurated, rumors began to swirl that he was going to change the name of the federal “Countering Violent Extremism” task force, located in the Department of Homeland Security, to “Countering Islamic Extremism” — and that the task force would accordingly “no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

The task force’s name hasn’t changed. But its function has. After a review of grants provided by the task force, the Trump administration preserved most of the grants (which involved Islamic communities) — but killed a $400,000 grant to Life After Hate, a group that attempts to “deradicalize” young men drawn to white supremacism.

It’s not that the Trump administration didn’t have evidence that right-wing extremism was a potential problem for public safety. According to Foreign Policy, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a report on May 10 called “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” which noted that white supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement.”

But among conservatives skeptical of “identity politics,” there’s been a longstanding resistance to any government warnings about far-right extremist groups. When the Department of Homeland Security published a report in 2009 warning of increased racist extremism after the election of President Obama, the backlash was so intense that the department had to formally retract the report.

. . . .

There’s been a similar turn away from community engagement and toward punitiveness on other fronts. Under Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (who’s now White House chief of staff), Trump administration officials were indifferent or hostile to concerns that aggressive immigration enforcement might be discouraging victims of crime from reporting to police. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice has stopped supporting legal “consent decrees” between police departments and local governments to rebuild public trust, while Sessions himself has advocated for a return to maximal punitiveness in criminal punishment and explained that African-American communities need to do a better job of trusting police to protect them.

In both his initial statement Saturday and his remarks Monday, President Trump presented the violence in Charlottesville as primarily a problem of social disorder — something that more and better policing, and more public trust in policing, could solve. It’s an old theme for Trump; “law and order” has been the theme of some of his biggest public moments on the campaign trail and as president. According to the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng, Trump was particularly insistent that his Saturday statement on Charlottesville adhere to a “law and order” theme, because he remembered it fondly from the campaign.

Trump may see “law and order” as the solution to everything because it reminds him of his electoral success. Other members of his administration see it as the solution to everything because they believe the fundamental problem is “social disorder,” not racism or white supremacism.

Trump’s willingness to criticize white supremacists by name is welcome and important. But if his administration has already decided what caused the problems in Charlottesville over the weekend, it’s hard to imagine that their attempts to “spare no expense” will get to the root of the problem — and won’t end up targeting the same nonwhite Americans and immigrants that the white nationalists themselves wish to intimidate.”

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Read Lind’s entire article at the above link.

I also think the Lind’s observations about Jeff Sessions are “spot on.” I have read other commentators suggest that because Sessions is such a “law and order guy” he can be trusted to prosecute the Charlottesville gang to the fullest extent of the law. That might well be true in this particular case. Clearly, Sessions is someone who historically has and continues to get his jollies from throwing folks in jails of all sorts (unless he can seek the death penalty which excites him even more).

But, Sessions has spent a career on the wrong side of racial history and hung around with immigration restrictionists and White Nationalists like Bannon and Steven Miller (who actually worked for him). He has wasted no time in essentially dismantling the Civil Rights enforcement mechanisms at the DOJ and turning the resources to looking for ways that whites can use civil rights laws for their advantage and to keep blacks and other minorities in their respective places. Further, he shows neither respect for nor acknowledgement of the tremendous achievements of American migrants, both legal and undocumented. In plain terms, he has faithfully carried out key elements of Trump’s White Nationalist agenda, to the delight of white supremacists and racists. And, it’s certainly not like Sessions isn’t aware of how his actions “play” in both the white and non-white communities.

Sessions is far too compromised ever to be an “honest broker” in combating white supremacists and racial hatred in the United States. Even if he throws the Charlottesville perpetrators in jail and throws away the key, he’ll never be credible as a defender of decency, tolerance, and civil rights in the face of White Nationalism or its first cousin white supremacism.

PWS

08-14-17

“KATE’S LAW” — Steinle Family Didn’t Want Her Name Associated With Political Football!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/14/politics/kate-steinle-trial/index.html

CNN reports:

“San Francisco (CNN)One minute, Kate Steinle was walking with her dad on a San Francisco pier. The next, she fell to the ground, crying out for help after a bullet hit her in the back and pierced her aorta.

In a matter of hours, Steinle was dead, and police had arrested an undocumented immigrant who they accused of pulling the trigger.
On that summer day in 2015, Donald Trump had barely kicked off his campaign. But the case quickly became a rallying cry for Trump as he called for a crackdown on illegal immigration and railed against sanctuary cities.
In the two years since, candidate Trump has become President Trump, and Steinle’s name echoed in the halls of Congress this month as the House of Representatives passed Kate’s Law, a measure named for her.
But Steinle’s family has balked at her case becoming the symbol of Republicans’ immigration agenda. The attorney defending the suspect in the case says there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
And Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the undocumented Mexican immigrant who’s accused of killing Steinle and of repeatedly entering the United States illegally, has yet to go on trial.
Lopez-Sanchez appeared in court on Friday, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a blank expression through most of the proceedings.
Here’s the latest on the case: . . . .”
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Read the complete article and get detailed information on the current status of the case at the link.
No surprise that the Trump-Sessions crew and the GOP sponsors of “Kate’s Law” are more interested in scoring political points than the feelings of the family struck by this tragedy.
And, even “enhanced” deportation laws really would’t have prevented this tragedy. The suspect had already been deported five times.
Thanks to star CNN immigration beat reporter Tal Kopan for alerting me to this article to which she contributed.
PWS
07-14-17

DHS Rolls Out VOICE Program To Mixed Reviews!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/trump-administration-launches-effort-to-help-crime-victims-whose-assailants-are-here-illegally/2017/04/26/70b27f1c-2a29-11e7-b605-33413c691853_story.html?utm_term=.53e57f278b40

Maria Sacchetti writes in the Washington Post:

“Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly on Wednesday unveiled a new effort to aid victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, catapulting the Trump administration into another pitched battle over whether the president is deploying federal resources to demonize foreign-born residents who are in this country illegally.

Kelly said the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, or VOICE, will provide custody status, release dates and other information to victims, witnesses and their representatives. He said there is “nothing but goodness” in his intentions — a claim immigrant advocates disputed.

“We are giving people who are victimized by illegal aliens for the first time a voice of their own,” Kelly said, gesturing to crime victims gathered at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s D.C. headquarters. “They’re casualties of crimes that should never have taken place because the people who victimized them should never have been here in our country.”

. . . .

“This really isn’t about helping victims,” said Brent Wilkes, chief executive of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is considering the lawsuit. “It’s really about trying to vilify the immigrant population in this country and using that to their political advantage.”

Trump’s executive order also called for quarterly reports on crime committed by undocumented immigrants, though it is unclear when the government will begin producing those reports. Advocates for immigrants say research has shown that immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than people born in this country.”

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You might want to compare this article with the op-ed by Jennifer Rubin posted earlier: 

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-L0.

PWS

04-26-17

 

WashPost: J. Rubin Says Trump Administration’s War On Illegal Immigration Is Bogus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/04/26/the-jig-is-up-hysteria-over-illegal-immigration-is-baseless/?utm_term=.73251571b3e1Bogus!

Rubin writes in “Right Turn” in the WashPost:

“The anti-immigrant hysteria that became a mainstay of President Trump’s agenda and the hymnal of the GOP rests on the assumption that we are awash with illegal immigrants. It’s illegal immigrants who are responsible for a crime wave. (There isn’t a wave, but stick with this for a moment.) It’s illegal immigrants, they say, who are responsible for the economic suffering in the Rust Belt. (If we just got rid of them, jobs and wages would go up!) Hillary Clinton was going to continue the Obama administration’s policy: open borders!

Well, it’s all fake. There was a dramatic downturn in illegal immigrants under President Barack Obama, who deported record number of people. As many of us argued, the economic recession reversed the flow of immigrants so on net more are now leaving for Mexico than coming from there. Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute observes, “President Trump can’t take credit for the unprecedented collapse in illegal immigration since 2007 but the Great Recession, growing Mexican economy, and Mexican demographics can. ”

The Pew Research Center tells us:

There were 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015, a small but statistically significant decline from the Center’s estimate of 11.3 million for 2009, the last year of the Great Recession. The Center’s preliminary estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2016 is 11.3 million, which is statistically no different from the 2009 or 2015 estimates and comes from a different data source with a smaller sample size and a larger margin of error. This more recent preliminary data for 2016 are inconclusive as to whether the total unauthorized immigrant population continued to decrease, held steady or increased.

Oops. You mean getting rid of all those illegal immigrants didn’t create job openings for unemployed factory workers in the heartland or boost wages or prevent Chicago’s crime increase in the past two years? Nope. It seems the anti-immigration crowd will need to find new scapegoats to blame and new ideas for solving our systemic economic problems.

In particular, Trump’s obsession with the Mexican border appears to be entirely misplaced:

Mexicans have long been the largest origin group among unauthorized immigrants – and the majority for at least a decade – but their numbers have been shrinking since peaking at 6.9 million, or 57% of the total, in 2007. In 2014, they numbered 5.8 million (52% of the total). In 2015, according to the Center’s new estimate, they declined to 5.6 million, or 51% of the total. And in 2016, according to the Center’s preliminary estimate, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico was the same, but their share fell to 50% of the total, marking the first time since at least 2005 that Mexicans did not account for a majority of the unauthorized immigrant population.

Why, then, do you suppose the Trump team is so fixated on illegal immigrants and the southern border? Well, immigration exclusionists have been ignoring readily available facts for some time. There is no illegal immigrant crime wave. The border is much more secure.

We’re hard-pressed to come up with any other explanation than the obvious one: As in France, fear and hatred of immigrants are a convenient excuse for voters and policymakers who cannot grapple with messy truths. Trump has no policy agenda to help the working and middle class, so he sells xenophobia. Get rid of illegals and you’ll all have $30-per-hour jobs! You can’t make a middle-class living as a manual laborer? blame the immigrants! Scared of terrorism and don’t want to think about the problem of radicalization of Westerners? Blame the refugees, the most thoroughly vetted immigrants there are.

It’s time to put an end to the nonsense, stop turning our cities and communities upside-down, alienating our ally Mexico over an unneeded wall, wasting money on building a wall and vilifying outsiders. Right-wingers should stop pushing the comforting fantasy to displaced workers that nothing they have done (e.g., not gone to college, not developed computer skills, stayed in locales with no jobs) and nothing they have to do (e.g., go back to school, develop new skills, move to where the jobs are) matter so long as all those illegal immigrants are “stealing” their jobs. That sort of fatalism is wrongheaded and ultimately does a huge disservice to those who need to catch up to the globalized economy. And now we now have plenty of evidence that the immigration scaremongering is fraudulent.”

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While I often disagree with Rubin, her points here seem well taken. It appears that Trump & Co’s rhetoric is driven largely by xenophobia and the belief that it wins elections.

Philip Bump in the Washington Post also pointed out that there is good reason to doubt the honesty of Trump’s attempt to link homicide rates in Chicago with undocumented migration. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/04/26/trumps-attempt-to-link-illegal-immigration-to-chicagos-homicide-problem-is-extremely-tenuous/?utm_term=.1916c1e4aa17

PWS

04-26-17