Things are bad in Flint, Michigan…really bad. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s even worst for some.
See, in order to get clean, free, bottled water from distribution centers, you need identification. Undocumented immigrants don’t have that and are terrified of deportation if they show up at these centers.
Take Lucia. She’s been living in this country for 23 years and more than a decade just in Flint: “I got close to see what they were giving out, and it was water. And the first thing they asked me for was my license.” She left because she was afraid of being arrested and deported. This is the case for all of the 1,000 undocumented immigrants living in Flint.
The contaminated water crisis began when the city of Flint switched their water source from Lake Huron to Flint River in order to save money. The residents were never warned about the existence of lead in the water leaching from pipes and contaminating drinking water. The contamination was so severe that Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in January.
Luckily for many undocumented immigrants, churches, like St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and their volunteers have been distributing clean water, no questions asked.
Since Trump’s rise to power, the undocumented community living and working in the United States has become progressively more psychologically oppressed. Studies show that undocumented immigrants are so afraid to leave their homes for fear of ICE, they’re now avoiding routine errands like grocery shopping. The Right claims that this insidious culture of fear is simply the consequence of breaking the law. Deportation is a serious, family-altering life event that is right to be feared. Even worse is the fear of violence from ICE officers. The undocumented community is reeling after seeing those fears play out for one migrant who was shot by ICE outside a Tennessee grocery store.
On Thursday, a 39-year-old Mexican national was stopped at a traffic light. ICE agents shot two bullets at the man while he was driving his truck, claiming that act was tantamount to assault on the agents. The FBI have been called to investigate the legitimacy of the assault claim, and still don’t have adequate evident to charge the man with a crime.
It all started outside a grocery store.
Local media outlets obtained footage of the incident, which occurred in Antioch, Tennessee on Thursday morning. The video depicts a seemingly normal traffic stop. The migrant was driving a white box truck, circled in red. Beside the truck is an undercover black sedan with blinking police lights.
Federal officials are describing the moment the migrant drove off as “assault” on the agents.
Bryan Cox, a spokesperson for ICE, told Buzzfeed News that the migrant was pulled over for “immigration law violations.” Cox claims that the man tried to “flee the scene” and “drove toward an agent who then fired two bullets at him.” Now that the video footage is out, concerned citizens are arriving at their own conclusions. “He drove off and not at police. No agent should fire his service arm unless his life is in danger,” tweeted @SheldonAYS.
Another Tennessee resident commented, “Not much assault here, except by the guy with the gun. We really need a president who doesn’t want to turn the U.S.A. into a police state.” Meanwhile, the other side is tweeting, “I am glad the agent is safe. I hope they find this criminal soon and throw him over the wall.”
Footage shows the ICE agents pointing their guns as the man drives off.
The man was hospitalized and treated for two bullet wounds, and left a Nashville hospital the following morning. At the hospital, FBI arrived on the scene to determine whether the man assaulted the ICE agents, which might warrant the use of excessive force by ICE. The undocumented immigrant then surrendered himself to the FBI, now a victim of America’s famed police brutality. His lawyer, Andrew Free, told Buzzfeed News, “The FBI informed me that if there had been sufficient evidence to charge him when he surrendered he would’ve been arrested.”
ICE said that no matter if its agents are prosecuted, the man will still be deported on any given day.
According to Cox, the Mexican national has been deported four times and has a criminal record which includes a conviction of domestic assault. Meanwhile, the FBI is holding the man’s blood-splattered truck in custody until the investigation is over.
In response, the immigrant community is putting on “Know Your Rights” workshops for Nashville residents.
“If we educate our community and we educate the agents on how to approach this situation, instances like today will not be happening; we can avoid bad news with both agents and our community; and right now, our community is living in fear,” immigrant rights activist American Leon told News Channel 5 Nashville. His goal is to ensure that all immigrant families have an emergency plan in place if they get arrested by ICE. That plan must include arrangements for their children in the event they can never return home.
Nashville’s Mayor has all but named Trump to blame for the incident.
“The federal government’s inability to arrive at comprehensive immigration reform results in situations like what happened in Antioch this morning,” Democratic Nashville Mayor David Briley said in a statement. “This is exactly what we don’t want happening in our city.”
Just two days prior, Mayor Briley signed an executive order calling on Tennessee’s General Assembly to repeal a state house bill that bans state and local lawmakers from passing sanctuary city policies. If the bill is repealed, we can expect mayors around Tennessee to declare their cities as “sanctuaries” from ICE.
Republicans are getting desperate. While President Donald Trump may think he has the 2020 presidential election in the bag, his GOP party isn’t so sure. For example, several Republican politicians are resigning from office or not seeking re-election. The slew of sudden departures from office ahead of the 2020 elections could be signaling a weakening of the Republican party. Isn’t he creating more jobs, helping the economy, and making this country great again? The country doesn’t seem to think so. His poll numbers are in the tank, as they have been for his entire presidential career, so will the Republican party be able to secure domination in the next election? They’ve already lost their majority in the House. Democratic organizations are funding campaigns against vulnerable Republicans in 2020 hoping to take back the Senate and the White House. There’s at least one Republican politician that is showing his desperation regarding the 2020 election and will do just about anything to sway votes his way.
Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is claiming that because there are so many undocumented immigrants, in some states — mainly California — they have more Representatives for that population because it is so big.
Rep. King is directly alleging that because California has so many undocumented immigrants, the state is required to have more Representatives elected into office to balance out the population. Now you’re probably thinking, how could Rep. King make that kind of allegation without proof or actual statistics to back up his claims? Well, he does.
“There was a study done in 2007 by FAIR — Federation for American Immigration Reform — they just estimated that there were six seats in California alone that wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have an illegal population,” Rep. King said during an event in Iowa in August where he spoke to a conservative audience.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform may give off the impression that it is a “fair” group, but it’s far from it. The group is an anti-immigration organization that was founded by John Tanton a white nationalist.
For further proof, King also included false information that stated the Department of Homeland Security had interdicted 4,117 migrants in a single day. However, the information he spewed on that day was inaccurate as well because ICE does not round up that many undocumented people every single day. His entire formula was off and even the people who he was speaking to knew that.
“That was mind-boggling,” Tom Emmerson, an 82-year-old that attended the event in Iowa told Rolling Stone. “It just didn’t make any sense.”
Rep. King is the same representative that went after Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and drank out of a toilet to prove to people that it’s okay for immigrants inside detention centers to drink from the toilet.
King said that he “went into that cell where it was reported that they were advised they had to drink out of the toilet.” He then “took a drink out of there. And actually pretty good! So I have a videotape and I smacked my lips,” he said, according to the New York Post. “It’s not drinking out of the toilet, it’s drinking out of the water foundation that’s integral with the back of the toilet.”
In response to Rep. King’s fiasco, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “there is a genre of videos where GOP House members — who clearly didn’t read sworn testimony that detention sinks were broken – filming themselves drinking out of toilet sinks. They’re so anti-immigrant they risk pink-eye to show off that they didn’t do the reading #CloseTheCamps.”
This isn’t the first time Rep. King has made incredibly outrages remarks. In January, Rep. King was stripped of his seat on a judiciary committee because he asked what was so offensive about white supremacy.
In a New York Times interview, Rep. King said he totally supports immigration as long as it is done legally and if those that come to this country assimilate to white culture. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Rep. King said in the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” While some of his party members denounced these comments, President Trump never did.
Rep. King also has a confederate flag at his office. What more is there to say about the character of this man?