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The raids conducted this week by police of ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement — sent shivers through the immigrant community. More than 160 people were arrested in Los Angeles, and score others in several cities. KTLA reported that “an ICE official confirmed Atlanta had conducted a similar surge this week, and roughly 200 arrests were made in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina in a similar routine enforcement action.”
The LA Times quotes the ACLU director of Immigrant Rights stating that “Even under Obama we had sweeps or big operations where they would go into a particular neighborhood or say that this week we’re going to do a big operation and arrest people with certain profiles in certain parts of the city,” Pasquarella said. “The piece of it that is new is some of the reports that we were getting yesterday indicating that there were people [arrested] who did not have any criminal convictions at all.”
Whether or not the raids had already been planned before Obama left office, their scope is being questioned by advocates and elected officials such as congressman Lou Correa, who sent a letter to the INS. The fear fanned by Trump during the campaign increased the panic. The Arizona deportation of a mother of two U.S,-born teenagers highlights the negative impact of the broken immigration system and its reluctance to implement a humane reform that avoids the break-up of families.
What does Norberto have to do with this? We all appreciate how well the VOC covers the cities and county government. However, having toxic, authoritarian, semi-corrupt practices lacking in transparency and accountability is not a necessary part of the anatomy of a Police State. Norberto implies otherwise when he analyses municipal budgets that tilt towards public safety, which is compounded by unchecked spending and secrecy. There is a legitimate basis for criticism, but by this logic, every city without public oversight of its police departments, especially those like Anaheim with its history of police brutality, would have to be considered a police state.
The common definition of the Police State includes the exercise of power by a secret and official police force, monitoring or enforcing the restriction or elimination of dissenting views. Nazi Germany, the old Soviet Union and its satellites, notably East Germany, Apartheid South Africa, Chile’s Pinochet, Cuba (under both Batista and Castro), and Saudi Arabia are some examples of police states.
What is more troubling is that Norberto legitimizes – and normalizes – a local promoter of a Police State. “One of our regular commenters, LFOldTimer, bluntly – and I believe accurately – identified the trend in one of our last stories : Whether you want to admit it or not, this is the anatomy of a police state.” This commenter, who I believe is the same one who has previously used the names “Beelzebub” and “Ziegfried,” holds extreme anti-unauthorized immigrants views, almost to the point of advocating violence. As a staunch Trump supporter, his views fit well with the initiative to introduce authoritarian policies to replace the “status quo.”
The children of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, the woman deported in Arizona, crossed the border Thursday night to be with their mother. “We don’t deserve to go through this,” her daughter, Stephanie, told reporters. “No family deserves to go through this. It’s heartbreaking. No one should feel this much pain, no one should go through this much suffering,”