ECLECTIC RANT: ICE Sweeps Northern California

Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 09, 2018 - 02:33:00 PM

yRecently, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted Northern California sweeps and claimed to have arrested more than 150 undocumented immigrants, half of whom had no criminal records. [Other accounts report more than 250 arrests.]The Trump administration’s racist, anti-immigrant actions have gone too far. ICE, by its own admission, swept up otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants, most of whom pay taxes and social security. 

My wife Judi is an immigrant from Venezuela, now a citizen. Many of our friends and acquaintances are immigrants, some of whom I suspect are undocumented. Actually, most Americans except American Indians are probably descendants of immigrants. Our country was built on their industry. We should support, not restrict immigration. That’s one of the reasons I am so angered by these hateful, unfair sweeps. 

These ICE sweeps terrorize undocumented immigrants, tear many families apart, and disrupt communities. ICE has become a rogue deportation army that is helping President Trump enforce his racist, anti-immigrant agenda and punish sanctuary cities like San Francisco and Oakland. 

Remember, it was President Trump who rescinded the Obama administration policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. 

Trump has a short memory. He seems to have forgotten that Melania Knauss, now first lady Melania Trump, reportedly broke immigration law when she first came to the U.S. in August 1996 by entering the country on a tourist visa and then working as a professional model. She obtained an H-B1 visa as a “skilled worker" in October 1996. Thus, she was paid for 10 modeling assignments between September 10 and October 15 while she was still on the tourist visa. Tourist visas allow someone to stay in the U.S. for six months, but they cannot seek employment in the U.S. during that time. 

Knauss began dating Trump in 2000. Then in 2001, she was granted a green card (permanent residency) in the elite EB-1 program (sometimes called the the "Einstein visa"), which was designed for renowned academic researchers, multinational business executives or those in other fields, such as Olympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors, who demonstrated “sustained national and international acclaim.” Knauss’s credentials at the time included runway shows in Europe, a Camel cigarette billboard ad in Times Square and — in her biggest job at the time — a spot in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, which featured her on the beach in a string bikini hugging a six-foot inflatable whale. Obviously, green cards were more easily obtained by some at that time. 

Melania’s Slovenian parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, have been living in the U.S. with green cards, beneficiaries of “chain migration” that Trump has criticized and wants to end. 

As Harvey “Big Daddy” Pollitt remarked in The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, “There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity!"