New surveillance video released show some of the tactics Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are using during immigration raids. The video documents an immigration raid at View Park Automotive in South Los Angeles on Sept. 25, according to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Of Southern California. Agents had a warrant to arrest the owner of the repair shop. However, they also arrested several men working there assuming they were undocumented. Officials did not have warrants for those arrests.
The ICE agents raided the business while carrying assault rifles and disguised as police officers, wearing vests that had the word “POLICE” on them. It isn’t illegal for immigration officials to impersonate police officers. Los Angeles and California officials have tried to stop immigration officials from using this tactic.
Now, with the video as evidence, the ACLU is suing over what they claim were unlawful arrests. Juan Hernandez is one of those who was taken into custody, and he is challenging the constitutionality of his warrantless arrest.
“Although you wouldn’t know it from the video, the law is clear: ICE is bound to respect its own regulations and the Constitution in the course of its operations,” Eva Bitran, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, said in a statement. “ICE’s arrest-first-ask-questions-later approach to enforcement is not only unlawful, it has real, painful consequences for communities and families like Mr. Hernandez’s.”
Officials in the city and county of Los Angeles have tried to persuade ICE agents to stop impersonating police officers for the safety of the greater community. Political leaders fear that ICE agents posing as police will undermine the relationship police departments have with the communities they serve.
After a viral video surfaced of a Mobile gas station employee threatening that “ICE will come” for the Mexican women simply trying to buy chips, community protests have led to the suspension of the employee. That’s not enough for the community members of Naperville, Illinois, who are continuing to protest outside the gas station until the racista is fired.
Speaking Spanish is not a crime in this country, but racists are feeling empowered more and more often to harass brown people for speaking Spanish.
Carolina Buitron and her visiting family from Mexico just wanted to buy some chips.
Buitron told NBC Chicago that they were speaking Spanish when the cashier, self-identified as Joseph Phillip Daniel on his social accounts, assumed they were “illegals” and asked them to leave.
Buitron said that once “he started asking about my cousins, if they were illegal, family or friends, are they adopted,” she took out her cell phone and started recording to Facebook Live.
“I am an American,” Daniel says, pointing to himself.
He asks the woman in the video, “Are you a citizen?” to which she responds, “Yes. What is your problem?” She repeatedly asks him, “What is your problem?” but he responds, “Don’t you know the rules? They need to go back to their country. It’s illegal. You’ll be sorry.”
The group threatens to call the police on him, and he then starts to say “I hate that…” when the woman emotionally responds, “I hate you.”
People in line were either silent or joined in Daniel’s hate speech.
One viewer of the Facebook Live stream noticed that the “white lady didn’t care bcuz she felt wht he felt. b****.” A second video published by another member of the group showed both Daniel and another customer yelling, “You have no rights,” to the women.
“ICE will come. Bye. God bless you. You’re in the wrong country,” he says on their way out.
One woman chuckles and responds, “God bless you, too. God bless you, too.” Another mutters, “stupid,” under her breath as they exit the scene as America’s newest victims of recorded blatant ethnic and racial discrimination.
The video quickly went viral with over 400k views in a single day.
Naperville resident, Juan Garcia, was “so pissed” after watching the video and rallied his community to protest the store that employs the racist. While Mobile’s name is front and center, it’s Bucky’s Convenience Stores that operates the snack shop.
In a statement, Bucky’s commented that Daniel’s language is “not reflective of the core values of Bucky’s Convenience Stores. We are aware of the situation and are managing this personnel issue. We take this matter seriously and strive to ensure that all customers are treated with respect.”
The day after the video went viral, Daniel was suspended pending “investigation.”
Even while justice has not yet been fully served, the fact that Daniel was suspended has @robluft correctly tweeting that there are “higher standards for a gas station attendant than the President.”
Still, Juan Garcia isn’t going to stop organizing protests until Daniel is fired.
The Naperville community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the protests.
@PhoebeP46 responded to the video saying, “As someone who used to live in Naperville, I’m not even surprised. It was honestly just a matter of time until they went viral for someone exposing them.”
While organizer Juan Garcia is being lauded for doing “the Lord’s work,” Daniel turns out to be just a straight up piece of work.
Plot twist: Daniel calls himself a Minister and thinks Nancy Pelosi is a Satanist.
His last post was on July 17, the day he was suspended from his work as a cashier. In the post, Daniel gives us an intense mixture of right-wing politics and a God that sends curses and combats demons. According to Daniel, those of us who call out racists are riddled with demons.
Daniel titled the post, “The Trump curse /Begins taking its effect on the political career of the Satanist, Nancy Pelosi.” He goes on to say, “The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi defames our President Trump, bringing curses upon herself as the demons inside her lead her to falsely call him a racist on the House floor….”
The Mayor of Naperville has condemned the speech, and residents are apologizing to the women on behalf of all of Illinois.
Mayor Steve Chirico posted to Facebook saying that “hate has no home here in Naperville.”
Chirico is clear as he continues, “Quite frankly, this type of behavior has no place in society at large. Our city prides itself on being open and inclusive to all. Civility towards each other is an important component of being a global citizen, and I urge everyone in our community to showcase the kindness, compassion, and good decorum that our residents are known for and that our world needs more of.”
Meanwhile, a smattering of racists have defended Daniel, but allies are clapping back louder.
One commenter thought the video only showed Daniel telling the women “that illegal people are here illegally” and Latinos are just being dramatic. This is a long-used method to gaslight and oppress minorities.
Politico maintains a record of hate speech and found that the phrase “go back to where you came from” is a very common dog whistle. Telling women that they’ll “be sorry” and “ICE will come” for speaking Spanish is racist. Punto.
See for yourself what pendejada looks like:
You can help offer justice to these women by making sure Mobile and Bucky’s know that a suspension isn’t a satisfactory response to discriminating against customers based off their language. This will not blow over until justice is served. #MakeRacistsAfraidAgain
Before we go ahead with this story let’s do something rapidito. Ready? OK, so let’s do a little thought experiment…
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read or hear the word “alien”? Perhaps something like this?
Yeah, something totally out of popular culture sci-fi imaginary, and what all those people that are pretending to storm into Area 51 are hoping to find.
Or perhaps something out of a Hollywood blockbuster? A slimy, flesh-eating beast?
The stuff that comes in your pesadillas at night!
And what about the world “illegal”? Que te viene a la mente? Perhaps a police headshot?
See where we are getting at? Your mind goes to criminality, shoot outs, police stations and fugitives, the world of law enforcement. It makes you feel threatened.
Now, if you combine “illegal” with “alien”, this is what some gringos might think about:
Credit: Giphy. @machetekills
Although Danny Trejo is a sweetheart, he is the epitome of the visual representation of the “bad hombre” in Trumplandia.
And now think about “illegal alien” in the current political context. Does your brain produce an image similar to this?
Credit: image1170x530cropped. Digital image. UN News
It’s a big jump from movie characters and slimy monsters to the plight of thousands of migrants who are fleeing violence, war and persecution in their home countries, right? It doesn’t take a law or literature degree to see how the use of “alien” and “illegal” criminalizes anyone who tries to migrate to another country through whatever means necessary.
Actually the dictionary definitions of these two words are pretty damning:
Credit: black-and-white-dictionary. Digital image. EF English Live
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines them as follows:
“Alien” means “coming from a different country, race, or group” or “strange and not familiar” or “relating to creatures from another planet”.
“Illegal” means “not allowed by law” and the dictionary gives the following examples: “a campaign to stop the illegal sale of cigarettes to children under 16”, “Prostitution is illegal in some countries”, “It is illegal to drive a car that is not registered and insured” and “Cocaine, LSD, and heroin are all illegal drugs/substances”.
Phrasing is important, so that is why Texas Representative Joaquin Castro introduced a bill to change federal legislation and taking off the words “alien” and “illegal” from policy. So what is the terminology he is proposing?
The terms “alien” and “illegal alien” are an accusation rather than a denomination, and Castro doesn’t hold himself back from calling this a way of demonizing and dehumanize migrant communities. According to an article published by Foreign Affairs New Zealand, Castro is proposing a different, middle-ground terminology for describing individuals who migrate to the country outside of the official immigration system: “Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, today introduced the CHANGE Act, legislation that eliminates the term “alien” and “illegal alien” from the Immigration and Nationality Act, and replaces them with “foreign national” and “undocumented foreign national” respectively”.
This small but significant change would alter how courts and the justice system in general perceives migrants. Repeat after us: “words matter”!
This is how Joaquin Castro himself puts it: “Words matter. It’s vital that we respect the dignity of immigrants fleeing violence and prosecution in our language. The words “alien” and “illegal alien” work to demonize and dehumanize the migrant community. They should have no place in our government’s description of human beings. Immigrants come to our borders in good faith and work hard for the opportunity to achieve a better life for themselves and their family. Eliminating this language from government expression puts us one step closer to preserving their dignity and ensuring their safety”.
The legal system deals in the currency of words and descriptions. Judges and juries make their decisions based on how the alleged crimes are presented, and the words “alien” and “illegal alien” certainly cast a shadow of criminality over migrants. These words strip them of a face, of a life story, of a personality. And this institutional act of stigmatization takes place regardless of whether the person being judged is an old woman, a adult man or a child (we seriously can’t get over how brutal authorities can be, even getting kids to decide which parent they want to stay with at the border).
The use of “alien” has long been a stigma on the Latino community.
As Jose Antonio Vargas wrote in a heartbreaking 2015 editorial published by The New York Times (we really recommend you read the whole thing):
Those two words, in all caps, adorn the plastic-covered green card that my grandfather, a naturalized U.S. citizen, handed me shortly after I arrived in the United States from the Philippines. I was 12. I don’t remember thinking much about the card (which was not green) or the words (which, strung together, seemed like the title of a video game or a movie). It wasn’t until four years later, while applying to get a driver’s permit, that I learned the card was fake. I wasn’t a “RESIDENT ALIEN” at all but another kind of alien — in common parlance, an “illegal alien.”
The label “alien” is nothing but alienating. And when coupled with “illegal,” it’s especially toxic. The words seep into the psyche, sometimes to the point of paralysis. They’re dehumanizing.
So does Joaquin Castro look like VERY familiar? Well get used to that face (two very trending politicians wear it with Brown Latino pride!)
Joaquin is the twin of Julian Castro, one of the candidates in the run for the Democratic presidential nomination. The brothers were born to a chicana political activist. That is why social justice and human dignity runs in their blood. They are sort of a Latino Kennedy duo championing migrants rights! Yes, please.
BTW, Castro has a long history of fighting for migrant rights, of course
Joaquin Castro was born in 1974, so he is a pretty young politician at just 44 years of age. As we said, his family was politically active from a very early age, so it is no surprise that migration is on top of his legislative agenda. Depending on how his brother Julian does in the Democratic primary (our prediction is that he will get better recognition in mainstream politics, but it is a long shot for him), the Castro twins could either become an important part of the new administration or a fierce opposition to a second Trump term (oh, we hate to say this but we might need to consider the possibility that this might actually happening).
And he is no fan of POTUS.
He is unafraid of calling him out when needed, like when Trump went ballistic over the progressive agenda of the Fantastic Four (that’s how we prefer to call Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib).
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