Saturday, February 11, 2017

Immigration arrests cause panic in California, but the story has been overblown.

Pro-illegal immigration protesters gather outside of LA's courthouse. LA Times. 

False rumors have swirled as immigration raids occur in California. LA Times. Protests broke out in Los Angeles after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers conducted raids in several California counties. More than 150 people were arrested but ICE claims that the operation was planned before Donald Trump took office and was a routine round up of criminals. 75% of the illegal immigrants arrested in the raid had prior convictions, including serious crimes like sex offenses, assault, robbery and weapons charges. 37 illegals, all from Mexico, have already been deported. Though the size and scale of the arrests is routine and similar to raids conducted under Barack Obama's presidency, the fact that Donald Trump is president caused panic and false rumors to fly. Fake news spread via social media indicated random sweeps and checkpoints, though no reliable reports have confirmed that to be happening. 

My Comment:
I think there is a lot of wishful thinking going on here on both sides of the political spectrum. Though the truth is that this was just a normal raid, both sides of the immigration battle want to believe that it is nothing of the sort. Both the pro and anti-immigration sides of the coin are suffering from motivated reasoning here. They want so desperately for this to be the start of massive deportations, but as of this post, it isn't happening just yet. 

For the anti-immigration folks, they want to believe that someone is finally cracking down on illegal immigrants. For decades now they have been promised that criminals would be removed from the country and they are desperate for any news that Donald Trump is keeping his campaign promises. To be fair to Trump, he has done more on immigration already then any other president in my lifetime, but he isn't sending huge raids targeting random people and setting up immigration checkpoints. And I don't see him doing so in the short term either.

The pro-immigration people desperately want the false rumors to be true, even more perhaps than the anti-immigration people. Though I am sure that there are people directly effected by the raids, real and imagined, that will be sad when their relatives are deported, I see this as a perfect opportunity for the left to play the victim card. They want to signal their virtue by saying that they are so much more moral and superior to those mean people that want the rule of law to actually mean something. That came off a bit more snarky than it probably should have, but I really do think that the upper and middle class leftists protesting this have very little at stake here other than wanting to score sympathy points. 

Too bad for both sides then that it's all a bunch of false rumors and fake news. These days a lie makes it around the world 20 times before the truth even gets out of bed in the morning and this is yet another example of false information getting out there and making a mess of things. Everything points to the raids in California being utterly routine. It's status quo ante for everyone involved, which is probably bad news for everyone who wants the fake news to be real. 

So are things going to be different under Donald Trump when it comes to immigration? Perhaps. He does seem to be playing hardball with the so called "sanctuary cities" that don't cooperate with ICE and other federal organizations on immigration enforcement. Those sanctuary cities are a blight and I hope that Trump does punish them for not following the law, but if that happens, it won't be the huge expansion of deportations that his supporters want. 

The Wall is most likely going to be built as well. It's going to be expensive and we might set off a trade war with Mexico to get them to pay for it, but it's going to happen. It will help more than people think since it will stop at least some of the most shady people from getting into the country. People always say that there is the visa overstay issue, but in the end, if we are going to crack down on a group of people in the country illegally it would be the criminals and drug smugglers crossing the physical border and not a student or visitor that just overstayed their welcome. Plus the Wall will hurt human trafficking and smuggling operations, that are about as horrible as you would imagine. It won't be the end all, cure all for illegal immigration but it will help things more than the left would like to admit. 

I don't feel sorry for the people caught up in these raids. All of them were criminals because all of them broke US immigration laws. Some are even less sympathetic then that because they have committed crimes here in addition to breaking immigration laws. I've always said that non-citizens, legal or otherwise, who commit serious crimes should be deported. But even for the non-violent ones, my feelings are pretty much the same as someone who accidentally shoots themselves by ignoring the safety rules for handling a gun. What did you expect to have happen when you did something that has obvious and serious consequences? 

I also want to point out that people always forget that the non-violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants matter as well. Identity theft is a huge problem and it ruins multiple lives. Not only are you stealing someone else's life essentially, you are also denying a job to an American or legal resident who needs one as well.  

All that being said, I have to say, again, that you should talk all news you hear about politics with a huge grain of salt right now. The major news outlets are making up claims out of whole cloth and social media is spreading false rumors, sometimes just for fun. We all need to be more careful about what we share on social media and keep in mind that media bias is out of control right now. If you see something that doesn't look legit or, even worse, looks too good to be true, remember to keep some skepticism... 

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