Grading Obama’s Deportment

The Obama administration has deported about 1.1 million people, an all-time record among American presidencies. And now David Dayen of FDL points us to a NY Times article in which we learn that the arrests for possible deportation include growing numbers of American citizens:

In a spate of recent cases across the country, American citizens have been confined in local jails after federal immigration agents, acting on flawed information from Department of Homeland Security databases, instructed the police to hold them for investigation and possible deportation.

Americans said their vehement protests that they were citizens went unheard by local police officers and jailers for days, with no communication with federal immigration agents to clarify the situation. Any case where an American is held, even briefly, for immigration investigation is a potential wrongful arrest because immigration agents lack legal authority to detain citizens.

What do we Americans, especially those of us who look Hispanic or Middle Eastern, have to do to avoid illegal arrest by immigration agents… carry our passports with us everywhere, all the time? Now wouldn’t that set our nation’s Founders spinning in their graves!

If you ever had any doubt that your civil liberties as an American are the target of a full-scale assault by the federal government, here’s another straw. Unfortunately, I fear it won’t be the last straw.

AFTERTHOUGHT: white Americans of my age cohort have all heard someone from our generation or a previous generation say things like “all those [insert racial or national epithet here]s look alike.” Well, they don’t, of course… but any given Hispanic surname occurs literally thousands of times in any big-city telephone directory, and a man named Carlos Lopez is far more liable to be falsely identified and picked up than someone named Patrick O’Brien (though actually there are a lot of those, too). Matching watch list databases on name alone is guaranteed to worsen the likelihood of being matched for American citizens with foreign-sounding names, sometimes literally a thousandfold. This is just plain not right. We now have agents picking up Americans off the street for “being,” i.e., having the same name as, someone else. And this in a country that once prided itself on its immigrant heritage from all parts of the world. Shameful!

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  • jams o donnell (Shaun Downey)  On Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Hesus you would ahve thought the fucking morons would prick up their ears when someone said they are an American citizen or perhaps DHS couldn’t care less

    • Steve  On Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      jams/Shaun, I just don’t know any more. It used to be that “ihre Papiere, bitte!” was the signature of a fascist state; now it seems it may soon be the first demand of American police officers confronting someone… quite possibly an American citizen… who appears “foreign.” And that’s a lot of American citizens.

      The absolute worst aspect of the always somewhat paranoid American personality has come to the fore, and I’m damned if I have any idea how to stop the trend.

  • karmanot  On Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I am ashamed to admit that all cops look the same……

    • Steve  On Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      But… but… Bryan has scant hair on top and a real beard! I’ve never known another cop who looked like him! 🙂

      Certainly, all cops wearing riot gear look the same, especially when they tape over their badge names and numbers, as seems to be happening more often lately.

  • karmanot  On Wednesday December 14, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    True, statically speaking ,there are bound to be some real soulful humans among them…..Bryan is particularly so.

    • Steve  On Thursday December 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

      karmanot, the strangest case of a cop in another role that I’ve ever personally known… and worked with… was an HPD officer who was also a professional violinist. He was a cool guy… easy-going and fun to work with. Oh, and he was counting the days until his retirement as a cop.

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