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Trump's Fight With ACLU Continues to Grow
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Photo: Bruce McKinnon

Trump's Fight With ACLU Continues to Grow

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CALIFORNIA - December 7, 2018

For decades, the ACLU has fought back against the militarization of domestic law enforcement agencies and the use of the military on the U.S.-Mexico border. Now it is one of the most pressing issues.

The ACLU, which does not call for full freedom for immigrants, says it wants freedom for those who really need help--the infirm and children who are looking for help from the U.S. authorities, who in return instead of help openly say that they will shoot innocent people. The Trump immigration fight is deadlocked, the ACLU representatives say.

The creation of the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 accelerated the government's operations on the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of DHS, grew in size and scope under the Bush and Obama administrations, gaining additional powers and hiring thousands of new personnel despite a “shocking” pattern of serious misconduct among its officers, including child abuse, sexual assault, wanton cruelty, and murder.

According to the latest data, the number of Border Patrol agents more than doubled between the fiscal years 2000 and 2011, and by the time President Trump took office, CBP reported 19,437 Border Patrol agents around the country.

The numbers didn't stop there. Shortly after his inauguration, Trump called for the hiring of an additional 7,500 border agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, despite the serious concerns over lack of safeguards in hiring procedures and past corruption and criminality among border agents. On top of that, Trump joined Bush and Obama in authorizing the deployment of National Guard troops to the border, sending some 4,000 National Guard troops in 2018.

After the high-profile events with the arrival of a caravan of migrants, then armed Border Agents increased by another 5,900 employees just prior to the midterm election. In addition to the 5,900 active-duty personnel, the Trump administration has sent 2,100 National Guard troops to the border.

The troops will now remain deployed to the border at least through January, according to White House representatives, even though there is no border crisis requiring a military presence. Despite Trump's rhetoric, apprehension numbers are at historic lows, and a significant number of apprehensions are family units and unaccompanied children, who, when crossing in-between ports of entry, commonly seek out Border Patrol agents and turn themselves in expressing intentions to seek asylum. This explains why the deployment was rightly panned by military experts as a "blatant political stunt" and a "profound betrayal of our military." To make matters even worse, the Trump administration has also attempted to expand the military's authority to use force, including lethal force, along with the border.

After January, it is planned to add a few thousand more Border Patrol agents, depending on the situation at the border. According to the latest data, several dozen immigrants have already attempted to cross the U.S. border this month. Moreover, to help children get to the United States, some migrants simply throw their children over the fence, where others take them.

According to the border patrol, most of these cases are stopped by threats to open fire. Earlier, Trump has repeatedly stated that he intends to use weapons against migrants who try to illegally cross the border.

As government forces, most notably CBP, have gained more authority, personnel, and resources at the U.S.-Mexico border, the result has been an increase in civil rights and liberties violations. In a recent show of force, CBP officers used tear gas on a crowd of largely peaceful men, women, and children seeking asylum, a cruel and unnecessary escalation that violated U.S. obligations under international human rights law to process asylum seekers.

CBP officials also regularly act like the Constitution does not apply in border areas, operating lawlessly and frequently disregarding the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures in its “100-mile border zone.” The agency's wrongheaded practice of racial profiling means that people of color face a disproportionate level of constitutional violations along the southwest border.

But the government’s militarized approach to the border doesn’t only lead to more civil liberties and rights violations -- it also leads to more avoidable tragedies.

According to The Guardian, 97 people have died following lethal encounters with CBP personnel since 2003. Such encounters include shootings, car chases ending in deadly crashes, and CBP agents forcing a young man to drink liquid methamphetamine. On May 23, 2018, 20-year old Claudia Patricia Gómez González was shot in the head by a Border Patrol agent shortly after crossing into the U.S.

But this is old data. As for the latter, for example, the recent case was in September of this year, after which the patrol agent is accused of killing four people on the border with Texas. It also became known that several people were injured on the border with California, where thousands of migrants are waiting for the decision of the U.S. authorities to accept them. Some media reported a fatal accident at the border.

Trump's dangerous promise of a 1,000-mile border wall is also likely to cause migrant deaths and more human suffering, devastate the environment, waste taxpayer dollars, and damage border communities. His plans build on years of misguided border fencing policies, including the 700 miles of fence construction approved by Bush and completed under the Bush and Obama administrations.

Contributing to the intensification of border security resources has been a lack of political will to create a common-sense immigration system that acknowledges the contributions of immigration and prioritizes the human right to family unity. Coupled with President Trump’s use of the border and immigration issues to drum up racial animosities among voters, the United States continues its slide towards a fully militarized border region that will further erode constitutional protections and human rights in our borderlands.

It turns out that the next ACLU attempt to demonize Trump crowned with success. A large number of other human rights organizations and individuals are ready to assist immigrants and refugees. We see how many people are going to Mexico today to support migrants with clothing and food.

What should President Trump do today? To look for additional military forces to once and for all resolve the issue with immigrants, to kill half of them who illegally break into the United States, to refuse to help all, and then to be an unwanted President in the eyes of his people? Or let in a crowd of thousands of people to be bad in the eyes of others, to unleash a fight for the division of the country between indigenous people and immigrants.

Author: USA Really