Hispanic Members of Congress Not Welcome at Briefing on Immigration Raids

In the aftermath of the raids that netted nearly 700 undocumented immigrants more than a week ago, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE – to brief its members on what was going on. A meeting was quickly set up for two days later.

Right before the meeting the folks from ICE cancelled, saying they would only brief a bipartisan group (all of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus members are Democrats). The meeting was rescheduled – and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was no longer involved in organizing it.

In fact, the administration, not Congress, was to decide who did and did not get to attend – and not a single member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was on the invitation list.

Thanks to some vigorous advocacy by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a few caucus members were added to the invitation list. A few who weren’t invited and showed up anyway were told tu no eres bienvenido aqui at the door. (According to a web-based translation site, that means “You are not welcome here.” If The Curmudgeon is wrong, he is sorry.)

That doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s downright scary, both that Hispanic members of Congress were banned from a meeting they originally organized and that directly affects them and their constituents and that the administration rather than Congress decided who got to attend a briefing of members of Congress.

Even scarier: after those who attended the briefing were told that 176 of the 683 people targeted by the raids were listed as non-criminals, they were informed that this was not a problem in the agency’s eyes because under a new Trump administration executive order, ICE now has the authority to target all 11 million undocumented residents of the U.S., not just those known to have committed crimes or suspected of committing crimes, and that the only obstacle to getting all 11 million was lack of resources. (See last week’s piece on the math underlying the challenge of finding, arresting, and deporting all 11 million.)

You know those movies you see, set it France, where some supercilious French gendarme with a silly-looking pencil-thin mustache approaches someone and asks “Your papers, please?” It’s starting to sound as if that will soon be coming to your hometown, too.

And that, too, is pretty darn scary.

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