Do tell, Mr. ICE agent, what made you go rogue the other morning in Kansas City?
Because something was certainly up when you allegedly shoved an immigration attorney so hard that she fell to the cement, twisting an ankle and cracking a bone in her foot.
Was it that the pregnant Honduran woman you were set to deport had already caused a hassle, her plight drawing New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker to her jail cell in hopes of securing the medication she needed to alleviate discomfort relating to her pregnancy?
Was it seeing the film crew (making a documentary for Netflix) in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement parking lot, ready to capture the moment when the woman’s 3-year-old son was handed over so they could both be deported together? Or was it just that it was 3:30 a.m. and you expected the early hour to conceal the shameful handoff from public scrutiny? Or, maybe you just hadn’t consumed enough coffee to be civilized.
Something got your goat.
Maybe it was just that under the current administration, respect for due process, for the constitutionally protected rights of undocumented immigrants, is under siege.
To be charitable, maybe you just wanted to do your job. You might even prefer the pre-Trump days when there was a bit more sanity and clarity to how ICE carried out its duties. Plenty of good people exist in dysfunctional workplaces.
And immigration proceedings in the U.S. certainly qualify as a chaotic, churning mess right now. But you did your job. Kenia Bautista-Mayorga was deported, though her luggage was not.
Imagine being six months pregnant, on an international flight with a toddler, without a change of clothes. The injured attorney, Andrea Martinez, had to press to find out which Honduran airport her client would arrive at.
Still, people want to know. Why did ICE shove the little boy’s stepfather through the doorway, locking it as the attorney was shoved to the ground? That man is now slotted for deportation too.
Officially, ICE is still reviewing the incident. The video of Martinez’s assault has since gone viral.
But most see this incident for what it is, an encapsulation of the complete disregard the Trump administration holds for immigrants and their legal rights.
Bautista-Mayorga claims she was fleeing an abusive husband, a Honduran police officer, and living in fear for herself, her son and her unborn baby, but U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already undercut her ability to gain legal standing when he decreed that domestic violence is no longer a rationale for asylum.
This mother and her children represent only one family whose chances to legally rectify their immigration status was short-circuited. Incidents like this happen every day in the U.S., with increasing frequency.
It’s ironic, given the outrage about separating migrant children from their parents, that this family’s reunion was only for the purpose of forming mother and child into a deportable unit. This is not the system that will meet the nation’s demands for national security. Chaos, undercutting people’s rights, never will.
It could be that this one agent was irked that dozens of people, many of them clergy, showed up outside his office and stood in the rain singing songs of peace and love. They were there to observe.
Good for those kind and patient souls.
More of them are organizing every day. In fact, some of them will be stoked for civil disobedience by watching video of this incident in Kansas City.
They will show up and bear witness to the actions at our southern border, in front of immigration courts and at the county jails that make money holding detained immigrants. The pressure will continue to mount.
The arduous river the U.S. will have to cross to re-establish itself as a fair and just nation, today, appears too wide for most of us. But momentum is building. We’ll get there.