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!