Things That Matter

ICE Is Going After A Twitter User For Spreading ‘Fake News’ But The Story Might Actually Be Real

As much as anything else, resistance against the increased pressure that ICE is putting on migrant communities is a matter of access to information. From shady facilities to lack of any details on the whereabouts of some detainees or the actual processes through which people are located, caught and processed, there is certainly a lack of clear information or even transparency on how the agency operates. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  recently pointed fingers at a Twitter user who made a claim that might sound over the top, but that is actually sort of plausible in this day an age. 

ICE accused a Twitter user of falsely accusing an agent of posing as a homeless woman to track down a family.

Credit: San Francisco Chronicle

A Twitter user (whom we are not going to identify here, because misinformation or not this can put them at risk of harassment) claimed that an ICE agent pretended to be a homeless person in order to identify and follow a family of undocumented migrants. The tweet was shared by the agency. It read: “An ICE agent posing as a homeless women (sic) tried to access our shelter last night to look for a family, disregarding the fact that we are considered a Sensitive Location. Not only are we are religious organization, the shelter is located in a church.”

If this was true, it would shed light on a totalitarian-like operation that would be highly unethical. If this was indeed the case, the agency would have also violated the unspoken rule of religious buildings being safe places for undocumented migrants. 

It might have been a dubious claim but the crazy thing is that it might very well have been true!

The agency was quick to rebut the claims, perhaps aware of the severity of the claims and the precarious PR situation that it would put it in. They stated: “The allegations that ICE entered the Redmond United Methodist church this weekend, or dressed as a homeless woman to enter a homeless shelter located within the church, are false and do nothing but promote fearmongering.”

We can see here that the reputation that ICE has garnered is in so much trouble that even claims like these, which would have been outlandish a few years ago, are today totally believable and force the agency to discredit them. One of ICE’s strategies has been to promote the idea that their work is a matter of public safety, highlighting cases of detainees with criminal records. This paints an alarmist picture that can lead to dangerous generalizations.

Misinformation damages any democratic society, and social media platforms might not be doing enough to ponerse a la altura de los tiempos.

Credit: FactCheck.org

It doesn’t matter where it comes from, any type of misinformation damages democracy, as citizens do not have the right tools to make informed and conscious decisions when it comes to electing public officials. Social media platforms have been recently under fire for their propensity to be used to spread false information and to stir public opinion by creating information bubbles.

This means that if you receive news and political commentary primarily from your social media feeds, you are likely to receive a very similar range of news and opinions. If you insert an alarmist or misleading news story then the bubble’s general worldview is only validated. ICE has the power and the channels to discredit information they deem misleading, but that is not always the case. 

Real or not, the story got some pretty serious discussions going on Twitter.

One of the most vulnerable points ICE has when it comes to public opinion is the ruthlessness in which they seem to carry out their duties, as they seem to be intentionally punitive. They have been compared to the Gestapo on social media, and some users have highlighted the cruelty of their methods. Whether ICE agents posed as people in need to track down a family of undocumented migrants is ultimately not the point: the point is that it is not beyond the realm of reason to believe that was the case. 

And in the public’s mind digital media monopolies are also to blame

How much do we share online that could reveal key demographics including migratory status? ICE has gotten folk real paranoid, or at least highly weary, of the potential surveillance that individuals and communities could be subject to under the Trump presidency. This feeling of social and cultural uneasiness can lead people to mistrust each other and is fertile ground for even the most outlandish conspiracy theories. It is not that people are suddenly being too melodramatic: the lack of transparency of an agency such as ICE, that can literally decide over matter of life and death, is harmful beyond control. 

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ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

Things That Matter

ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

Long before taking office, President Biden vowed to undo many of the Trump administration’s most cruel and inhumane immigration policies within days of taking office. But despite several executive orders, Biden’s policies have met several roadblocks and swift changes in immigration policy have yet to arrive.

One major roadblock to ending deportations has been a federal judge that placed a hold on a Biden’s executive order and the other has been a “rogue agency” that’s continued several of Trump’s immigration policies.

Migrant rights advocates are calling ICE a “rogue agency” as it faces new allegations of abuse.

Although President Biden has outlined his immigration policy and installed his new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – which oversees ICE – the White House still does not have full control of ICE, which faces multiple allegations of human rights abuses and allegations that it has disproportionately targeted Black migrants.

The agency also continues to deport immigrants who don’t fit the categories approved for deportation by DHS – even those who had been taken off deportation flights just hours before.

Many deportees are claiming that ICE has stepped up its torture of detainees.

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Several migrant rights groups – Freedom for Immigrants, Al Otro Lado and Advocates for Immigrants Rights – published affidavits from Cameroonian asylum seekers who they said were tortured by being forced to approve their own deportations. The asylum seekers described being forced to the floor and having their fingers inked and pressed on to deportation documents they had refused to sign.

According to The Guardian, one Cameroonian asylum seeker described being brought into a room with darkened windows where he was forced by agents to put his fingerprint on a document in lieu of a signature, waiving his rights to further legal process before deportation.

“I tried to stand up because of the force that they were using on me, and they tripped me,” HT said. “I fell on the floor; I kept my hands under my body. I held my hands tight at waist level so they could not have them. Five of the Ice officers and one of the officers in green … joined them. They pressed me down and said that I needed to give them my finger for the fingerprint.”

One man was put on a flight to Haiti even though he’s not Haitian and had never been to that country.

And despite new directives from DHS and the Biden administration, ICE continues to carry out deportation flights containing people who fit none of the current criteria for deportation.

Just last week, Paul Pierrilus, a 40-year-old financial consultant from New York, who had never been to Haiti and is not a Haitian citizen, was taken off a deportation flight at the last moment after the intervention of his local congressman, Mondaire Jones. But just days later, ICE put him on another plane and sent him to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jones told the Guardian: “Ice is a rogue agency that must be brought to heel. There is no world in which an agency under the control of the leader of the executive branch should continue to deport people after the president of the United States signed an executive order halting deportations for 100 days.”

However, the Biden administration has also moved forward on its own with many deportations.

It’s true that a federal judge ordered the Biden administration not to enforce a 100-day pause on deportations, but the ruling did not require the government to schedule them. However, the administration has moved forward on deportations for hundreds of immigrants within the past two weeks.

It’s unclear how many of those people are considered national security or public safety threats or had recently crossed the border illegally, the priority under new guidance that DHS issued to enforcement agencies.

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An Old Video Of To TV Hosts Debating Whether The Moon Is A Planet Or A Star Has Twitter Twisted

Things That Matter

An Old Video Of To TV Hosts Debating Whether The Moon Is A Planet Or A Star Has Twitter Twisted

To be a star or a planet? That is the question.

Or at least, it was The Question that made heads roll a few years ago and has begun to do again thanks to a revival of an old video.

Six years ago, in 2015 a QVC segment went viral after designer Isaac Mizrahi and his co-host Shawn Killinger got into a heated debate about whether the moon was a star or a planet. Little did they know that the moon, well, it’s actually just a moon.

Now, six years later, the old segment is making waves again.

Mizrahi and Killinger started the strange debate in a clip that is surfacing again on Twitter.

The clip starts out with Killinger holding up a shirt made of green, white, and blue colors before declaring, “This is what we call emerald, but really it’s more of a seafoam.” She then goes onto point out that “it almost kinda looks like what the earth looks like when you’re a bazillion miles away from the planet moon.”

Then in the familiar way that we’ve all done after realizing we might have made a mistake, Shawn mutters the phrase again, contemplating. “The planet moon.”

Not picking up on her hesitations, Isaac agrees “The planet moon.” Copping to her mistake, Shawn asks “Isn’t the moon a star?”

“The moon is a planet, darling,” Isaac replies before pulling his co-host into a sixty-two-second-long debate in which Isaac insists the moon is a planet. “The moon is such a planet I can’t even stand it,” he even declares at one point. In reaction, Shawn attempts to support her argument by going through the planets in our solar system. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get very far and names Earth, Uranus, Saturn, and “the one with the rings.”

This is when Shawn then comes to the conclusion that the Sun is a star too but Isaac quickly replies that “We don’t know what the sun is” meaning that “us” as in the whole world doesn’t know.

The whole thing is only resolved once someone off-camera confirms what most of us all already know, the moon is not a star, a planet, but a natural satellite.

Much to Shawn and Isaac’s chagrin of course.

“A natural satellite? What’s that mean? I don’t like that at all,” Shawn asks suspiciously. “A natural satellite,” Isaac replies, adding. “But things live on it. That means it’s a planet.”

Fortunately, the hosts move on with the show to sell their shirts, but fans on Twitter have yet to forget.

Someone even animated the entire sequence.

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