Immigration

Biden is fueling the flames of paranoia about immigrants that Trump stoked before him

The news that Biden's administration is to provide legal support for unaccompanied migrant children in several American cities will doubtless be welcomed. The federal initiative is said to provide attorneys to represent children facing deportation proceedings after having entered the country on their own at the southern border.

But when examining United States border policy holistically, the move doesn't go nearly far enough. It's a drop in the ocean when considering the escalating humanitarian crisis — and it is a crisis — that exists as a result of US border policies, foreign policy and influence.

First, the way to deal with a surge in unaccompanied minors is not to buttress legal provisions. The sensible and humane thing would be to allow passage for their parents and guardians to safely enter the country in order to have their asylum claims processed together as families. The sanctity of families should be protected at all costs.

While many Democrats might choose to blame the migration crisis on the Trump era, that's too easy. Biden's administration has the power to rescind Title 42 whenever it wishes. Yet Title 42 remains in place despite Biden promising to break from such policies, and in the face of demands from the UN and countless other humanitarian groups demanding its removal. Furthermore, with the availability of vaccines, covid is no longer an excuse to maintain racist border policies.

In recent days, four United Nations agencies have warned against the dangers of deporting Haitians arriving at the border back to Haiti. Instability in the island nation is serious. Experts highlight food shortages, gang violence and political turmoil in the wake of the assassination of a former president. Haiti still suffers from the after-effects of its most recent earthquake. The US special envoy there resigned, citing the treatment of Haitians at the southern border.

The people of Haiti, mired in poverty, hostage to the terror, kidnappings, robberies and massacres of armed gangs and suffering under a corrupt government with gang alliances, simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy.

If the conditions outlined by Daniel Foote and UN agencies don't justify the chance to safely claim asylum, then what does?

There's a reason, too, why many are characterizing the treatment of Haitian migrants as anti-Black. From Afghans to Canadian border crossers, other migrants are treated better. The Biden administration's border policies break the president's campaign promises. They arguably also break domestic and international law. They are self-evidently morally repugnant, enforced with barbarity. The real reason that such policies exist is, of course, to satisfy America's insatiable unwarranted paranoia over so-called border security.

The flames of that paranoia were stoked for sure by the former president. But rather than extinguish those flames, Biden's administration is doing the equivalent of throwing chip fat into the fire. While politicians repeat endless talking points about enforcing law and safety regarding the border, the reality is that America's border policies, like the UK, ought to represent a source of national shame. But they don't. They've become mainstream political currency.

By supporting such policies, flag wavers and so-called respectable people are consigning vulnerable people to a death sentence. Deporting people back to places like Haiti could mean exactly that. Such privilege and racism are the opposite of democracy.

What certainly is a cornerstone of democracy, however, is protest.

And that's what demonstrators did recently, outside the home of Alejandro Mayorkas, demanding Biden's administration make good on promises to undo damage already done. They want an end to Title 42, the rule allowing the deportation of people suspected of having covid.

It's clear by now that relentless pressure must be applied to force the right thing. As it stands, human rights and human dignity remain buzzwords repeated by President Biden and his predecessors. Decent democrats and Democrats need to rally and demand that Biden's administration reverse the inhumane border policies.

It's tiring having to constantly argue that Black people are humans deserving of fair treatment under the law. One day, Haitian kids will grow up, becoming our future. What do we tell them to explain their treatment and that of their parents? That it was the law, a government policy? That democracy was a nice idea, applicable to some?

A star’s trek to space obscures deadly desert treks below

"Star Trek" was in the news this week, as actor William Shatner, who played "Captain Kirk" in the classic 1960s TV program, blasted into space at the age of 90 as one of billionaire Jeff Bezos' latest Blue Origin space tourists. In this remote region of west Texas, mere miles from Bezos' gilded launch pad, a trek of another kind takes place every day, as migrants, many fleeing violence, the climate crisis and poverty attempt the difficult journey from Mexico to the U.S. While the spacecraft lifted its privileged passengers aloft, lost lives littered the Chihuahuan Desert floor far below. Travel by foot under the blazing hot sun is difficult through the sand, rock and cacti, made harder by the militarized enforcement of the broken U.S. immigration system.

Thousands of migrants have died attempting this journey. Armando Alejo Hernandez was last heard from in early May. Armando's disappearance in the desert has been addressed in this column before, also with a reference to the Blue Origin space facility in nearby Van Horn, Texas. In July, the heat of the desert was at its deadliest, and Jeff Bezos was locked in what has been dubbed "the billionaire's space race" with Richard Branson, who flew with a small crew aboard his own spaceship to achieve a few minutes of suborbital weightlessness.

Their brief trips received international acclaim. If only the media scrum would linger, and focus their cameras on the more perilous journeys of these earthbound desert travelers.

Armando spent a decade in the United States, working and building a family, with two sons who were U.S. citizens by birth. Armando, though, never obtained legal documentation, and was deported in 2016. His older son, Derek, speaking on the Democracy Now! news hour, described the genesis of Armando's fateful trip last May:

"Not having him around was tough on me, because I grew up, pretty much my whole childhood…all the time with my dad," Derek explained. "So, we were on the phone one day, and I asked him if he could come back, because I just wanted him around… I didn't get to see him for four years."

Alexis Corona was in a small group of migrants traveling north with Armando. He recently told Telemundo TV, "Armando said he couldn't walk anymore, and he wanted to see if he could be rescued…From where he stayed, maybe eight or nine miles ahead, the
rest of us were caught by immigration agents. We explained where Armando was, that he couldn't walk anymore, that he didn't have enough water or food. The reaction was, 'Well, if he stayed behind, he'll just have to stay there.'"

Derek was communicating with his father at that time. Armando sent
recorded voice messages to his son, describing his clothing, that he had no water and felt he couldn't go on. He sent a photo with a building high on a mountain in front of him. The photo clearly shows a U.S. government radar installation, placing Armando along the southern slope of Eagle Peak, in Hudspeth County, not far from El Paso.

Border Patrol agent Alex Jara, interviewed for the documentary "Missing in Brooks County," admitted, "We don't call them people anymore. We call them 'bodies.' Because if you start calling them people, then it starts getting to you."

Brooks County is home to one of the inland Customs and Border Protection checkpoints, which drives migrants lacking documentation off of Brooks County's single main roadway and into the desert to avoid capture.

"The increase of migration has begun since the beginning of the Biden administration," Eddie Canales, the director of the South Texas Human Rights Center, based in Brooks County, said on Democracy Now! "I have families here, representatives from different countries right now, that are still searching for their missing loved ones… the number has increased. There have been 99 recoveries of bodies and skeletal remains in Brooks County alone this year."

Average temperatures in the desert are cooler at this time of year, but unguided travel through the harsh environment is still perilous. Many more will needlessly die. Immigrant rights activists are pressuring the White House and Congress to ensure that a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents is included in the Build Back Better bill. The overall bill is being blocked by conservative Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema, of another border state, Arizona, home to the equally dangerous Sonoran Desert.

It is fine to gaze heavenward, to reach for the stars, inspired by the green-card-holding, Canadian actor William Shatner. But the crises that engulf us now will not be solved by spaceshots, but by people pulling together here on earth, with feet firmly planted on the ground.

There are clears signs that sadism is the driving force of the Republican Party

So much depends on respectable white people. Those are white people who care about appearing respectable to other white people, who themselves care about appearing respectable to other white people. They are the great globular middle of American politics that determines electoral outcomes in this country.

For the longest time, they sided with the Republican Party on account of tax cuts and other goodies. My hope is that, for the foreseeable future, they will side with the Democrats on account of tax cuts and other goodies being a banner for hiding the fact that sadism is the GOP's point.

Sadism isn't only about sex, though it can be, obviously. When I say "sadism," I mean the pleasure derived from seeing other people suffer. The Republicans have no policy goals. Their only goal is creating legal and political conditions in which the in-group is protected while the out-group is punished. But it doesn't end with punishment. It can't.

When the out-group gains power, the in-group feels powerless. When the in-group feels powerless, the in-group feels oppressed. When the in-group feels oppressed, it cries out for freedom. But in order to feel free, the in-group must do more than merely punish the out-group. It must derive pleasure from seeing pain and suffering. This is what I want respectable white people to understand. When they vote for tax cuts and other goodies, they are doing far more. They are helping the GOP's authoritarian base feel a freedom that depends on suffering.

When white police officers pulled a Black paraplegic man out of his vehicle by his hair last month in Dayton, Ohio, on illegal drug suspicion, that might appear to be another case of police brutality. (Body cam footage of the incident was released Friday. An investigation by the police department is underway.) But to the authoritarian base of the Republican Party, what the Dayton cops did was the goal itself. Seeing the man's pain produced pleasure. It made them feel free.

It is sadism. It is not cruelty. Cruelty is not the point. Sadism is. You can be cruel without meaning to. You can be cruel without taking pleasure in pain. You can be cruel because you can't help it (on account of repeating past traumas, for instance). But sadism takes intention. It takes the desire to set aside priorities, like tax cuts and other goodies. It is its own cause. It is its own effect. This is another thing I want respectable white people to understand. Sadism isn't an unintended consequence. It's the point. When you vote for the Republican Party, when you give money to Republican candidates, you are joining a concerted effort to bring more suffering to more people, and you are complicit in the derivation of pleasure from suffering. You have become a sadist.

This sounds extreme. That's because sadism cancels equality. If the Republicans had some degree of commitment to equality, they might seek conditions in which the in-group feels free regardless of whether the out-group feels pain. But there is no equality. Therefore, there is no equal protection under law. Therefore, there is a one-to-one relationship between in-group freedom and out-group pain. Put another way, it's quite impossible for the in-group to feel free when the out-group does not feel pain. Sadism is the GOP's vital link.

Given the reality of this one-to-one relationship, you can see they don't mean freedom when they say freedom. They don't mean the presence of choice. They don't mean the absence of coercion. They don't mean freedom in any conventional sense. What they mean is the pleasure of seeing other people's pain, because their freedom can't exist without their suffering. Respectable white people need to understand this. Cries for freedom are in fact cries for sadism.

Just as they don't mean freedom when they say freedom, they don't mean borders when they say borders. Ten Republican governors went to the southern border to pressure the president to do more about immigrants coming in. Most of them were from non-border states. And that's the tell. The border they are defending isn't the border. It is the border between us and them, between the GOP's authoritarian base that can't feel free unless someone suffers, like immigrants, and everyone else who can feel free as they share power with others.

This is the last thing I want respectable white people to understand. There is no middle way. There is no neutral position. "Every state is now a border state," said Wisconsin Congressman Tom Tiffany last week while visiting the border. Every state is a border state. Every issue is a border issue. Every person is a border person who must choose a side. Are you with us or against us. Sadism is the point.

Lindsey Graham goes on baffling rant about ‘40,000 Brazilians’ with ‘Gucci bags’ heading for Connecticut

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is claiming 40,000 Brazilians are "headed for Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags." The U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) regularly releases statements on its work and has said nothing about "40,000 Brazilians."

Graham last year was photographed, smiling, with a leader of the white nationalist group, the Proud Boys, apparently dining at a restaurant. One year earlier Graham appeared in a photo with far right wing politician Geert Wilders, "a controversial Dutch parliamentary leader with anti-Islam and anti-immigrant views."

And just months ago, according to a pro-immigration group, Graham appeared on Fox News "using talking points peddled by white nationalists."

In August U.S. Customs and Border Patrol issued a statement saying its San Diego agents "have encountered an unprecedented number of Brazilian nationals," putting that number at "more than 7,300 Brazilian nationals," a far cry from 40,000.

There was no mention of "designer clothes and Gucci bags."

Watch Senator Graham:

He was quickly mocked for his claims:




A secretive counterterrorism team interrogated dozens of citizens at the border: government report

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

A new government report has revealed that a secretive counterterrorism team interrogated dozens of American activists and journalists at the border as part of the Trump administration's sweeping response to fears about a large migrant “caravan" that was making its way to the United States' southern border.

A ProPublica story in May first revealed the involvement of the counterterrorism team. But the new report, from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general, shows the unit's assignment was far broader than previously known.

According to the report, at least 51 U.S. citizens were flagged for interrogation — often based on evidence as flimsy as once having ridden in a car across the border with someone suspected of aiding the caravan.

Thirty-nine of those Americans crossed the border shortly after being flagged and were detained and interrogated. All of those interrogations, the report found, were conducted by members of the Tactical Terrorism Response Team, a little-known unit of Customs and Border Protection trained in counterterrorism, not immigration issues. The existence of the inspector general's report was first disclosed by Politico.

Tarek Ismail of the City University of New York, who's been investigating the role of the counterterrorism units and is part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking documents on them, told ProPublica that he'd never seen the unit's work detailed in a government report before. “There's so little information out there about the TTRT that it's astounding that the report talks about them in such a matter-of-fact way, as if it's nothing to be concerned about," he told ProPublica.

In the fall of 2018, thousands of Central Americans migrating together for safety had become a fixation of President Donald Trump and his administration. The federal government sent a surge of intelligence and security forces to the southern border in what it dubbed Operation Secure Line, which ultimately led to the dragnet interrogations.

The government initially maintained that it was investigating confrontations between migrants and agents. But the Trump administration then said it was looking into whether activists were abetting smuggling by “encouraging" migrants to enter the U.S.

Taylor Levy, one of the citizens targeted by CBP's effort (and who was involved in the FOIA case that first disclosed the counterterrorism agents' involvement this spring), told ProPublica the new report validated her suspicions. “I'm not paranoid, my friends aren't paranoid. This really did happen. It was a targeted campaign of surveillance," she said.

In one case, the inspector general's report says, two lawyers were flagged for interrogation because they had previously crossed the border with someone suspected of running a WhatsApp group associated with the caravan. In another case, a U.S. citizen was flagged for crossing into the U.S. with someone who was, months later, identified as a potential caravan organizer.

The report notes that citizens are only supposed to be flagged for border interrogations when they are suspected of criminal activity themselves. But officials were either unaware of the decades-old policy or ignored it. At least two senior officials told investigators that people could be stopped for questioning for “virtually any reason," according to the report.

In a response included with the report, CBP agreed to update its training to clarify that flags “should only be created for law enforcement purposes." It did not say it would limit future interrogations to people suspected of criminal activity themselves.

CBP referred ProPublica to its published response to the inspector general's report, and it did not comment on whether any agents had been or would be disciplined in response to the report's findings.

Top State Dept. official blasts Biden’s 'illegal' and 'inhumane' deportations on his way out

A senior State Department adviser on Saturday ripped President Joe Biden's use of a Trump-era deportation policy as "illegal" and "inhumane" before stepping down from his position.

Harold Koh, a legal adviser at the State Department who also served in the Obama administration, said the Biden administration's continued use of the unprecedented Trump-era Title 42 public health policy, which permits rapid deportation of undocumented immigrants over COVID concerns is "not worthy of this Administration that I so strongly support," in a memo published by Politico.

"I believe this Administration's current implementation of Title 42 authority continues to violate our legal obligation not to expel or return … individuals who fear persecution, death, or torture, especially migrants fleeing from Haiti," Koh wrote after the administration's accelerated deportation of thousands of Haitian migrants. "Lawful, more humane alternatives plainly exist," he added.

Border Patrol data show that nearly 700,000 people have expelled under the policy since February, the month after Biden took office, and more than 91,000 were "forcibly removed" in August alone, Koh wrote, warning that the use of the policy violates federal and international law. The removal of Haitian migrants is particularly "unjustifiable" because the administration in May gave Haitians temporary protected status due to "serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources" even before the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and a devastating earthquake plunged the country into deeper chaos, he said.

An administration official told Politico that Koh was stepping down to take a job at Oxford University in a long-planned departure but would continue in a consulting role to the department. His memo nonetheless underscores the growing acrimony inside the administration over Biden's continued use of Trump's draconian immigration policies, which some officials believe is out of "fear of Republican attacks," according to the report.

"There's a lot of discontent," an administration official told The Guardian, adding that Koh's "views are pretty widespread within the State Department."

Olivia Troye, who served as a top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence, said she resigned last year because of the policy, which she said was hatched by anti-immigration hardliner Stephen Miller.

"That was a Stephen Miller special. He was all over that," she told the Associated Press. "There was a lot of pressure on DHS and CDC to push this forward."

A White House official told Politico that the CDC has determined that the use of the policy is "necessary due to the risks of transmission and spread of COVID-19 in congregate settings."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the policy during a briefing on Monday.

"We don't see Title 42 as an immigration policy; it is a public health authority because we're still in the middle of a pandemic, and it is determined by the CDC," she told reporters. "It is also true that there are several exceptions for Title 42, including those who are fleeing persecution, who express a concern of fear. It goes through a process. Those who have health issues — those are individuals who go through our immigration proceedings and process. So it remains in place because we're in the middle of a pandemic."

A federal judge last month blocked the administration from using the policy to deport migrant families seeking asylum but an appellate court last week issued a stay of that ruling, allowing the policy to continue while it is litigated.

The policy drew widespread condemnation when it was introduced by Trump as immigration advocates accused the administration of using the pandemic to advance its hardline agenda. But the mass deportation of thousands of Haitian migrants under Biden has prompted renewed outrage from longtime State Department officials.

Daniel Foote, the administration's special envoy to Haiti, resigned last month in protest of what he called the "inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Psaki told reporters after the resignation that Foote had "ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure" but never did. Foote said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that his "policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own."

Numerous Democratic lawmakers leaped to Foote's defense. Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y., lamented that Foote's "opinions and knowledge of what was taking place was not incorporated into the decisions." Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., similarly criticized the administration for ignoring the veteran diplomat, and expressed sharp disapproval of the recent treatment of migrants at the Mexican border, where videos have shown some being whipped by border agents on horseback.

"I am demanding that this detestable behavior be stopped immediately," she told Politico.

Biden last week said the images of border agents abusing migrants were an "embarrassment," "dangerous" and "wrong." The Department of Homeland Security temporarily barred agents from using horses to patrol the border at Del Rio, Texas, where many of the Haitian migrants have sought to enter.

Koh in his memo urged the administration to suspend all Title 42 flights, "especially" to Haiti, and to better screen asylum seekers for fear of persecution.

"Our recent efforts to assist tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans show the best that the United States can do to protect individuals at risk in a crisis," he wrote. "Yet our actions and approaches regarding Afghan refugees stand in stark contrast to the continuing use of Title 42 to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture."

'Deeply dangerous': MSNBC host reveals the history behind the GOP embrace of a deadly conspiracy theory

Fox News' Tucker Carlson generated considerable controversy when, on his April 8 show, he promoted the Great Replacement Theory — a racist conspiracy theory that has become prominent in white supremacist and white nationalist ideology. And almost half a year later, Carlson is still claiming that President Joe Biden and other Democrats are trying to "replace" white voters with immigrants from developing countries. MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan called Carlson out on his show this week, warning that he is promoting a claim that "gets people killed."

The progressive firebrand described the Great Replacement as a "conspiracy theory so vile, so extreme, so dangerous" that it was, in the past, avoided by mainstream conservatives and kept "on the furthest fringes of the far right."

Hasan told viewers, "What is the Great Replacement? It's a story, or a theory if you will, about liberal elites secretly changing our demographics, helping Black and Brown immigrants to invade America and replace white people. It's a white supremacist story about so-called white genocide. Scary, right? Bonkers, too. And yet, this year, Fox's Tucker Carlson came along and thought, 'Hmmm, let's bring this idea into the light to a prime-time cable audience."

The MSNBC host went on to say that the Great Replacement Theory has become a "rallying cry for the neo-Nazi far right," noting that it originated in France with white nationalist author Renaud Camus and his book "Le Grand Remplacement." And Hasan noted that a series of terrorist attacks have been carried out by White supremacists who embrace and promote that theory.

"The Great Replacement Theory gets people killed," Hasan warned. "And yet, you now have Tucker Carlson — the most influential right-wing cable news host in America — defending it, promoting it, mainstreaming it. And elected Republicans are now following in his footsteps…. Members of the GOP are now openly trafficking in neo-Nazi rhetoric."

Hasan showed clips of Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rep. Brian Babin of Texas promoting the Great Replacement Theory, arguing that "members of the GOP are now openly trafficking in neo-Nazi rhetoric" rather than simply using racist "dog whistles" like Republicans of the past. And he noted that Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has vigorously defended Carlson by explicitly promoting the Great Replacement Theory by name.

"This is how white supremacy is normalized in America today: the marriage between Rupert Murdoch's Fox and Donald Trump's GOP," Hasan warned. "And they make us numb to this stuff…. This is a deeply dangerous moment for America."

A racist delusion has become a Republican talking point

A growing number of Republican pundits and politicians are entertaining or outright embracing the "great replacement" theory — a once-fringe white nationalist worldview that in recent years has crept into mainstream political discourse.

This theory, apparently first popularized in 2012 in a self-published book by the eccentric French novelist and diarist Renaud Camus, proposes that a cabal of liberals or global elites is attempting to "replace" the white European populace with nonwhite or non-European minorities. This idea had very little traction in America until recently, at least outside the fringes of the far right. But over the past few years, some prominent conservatives who are not overtly white supremacist have begun to embrace this notion publicly, claiming that their political opponents are enacting pro-immigration policies in order to diminish the electoral power of white voters.

In 2017, the term and the idea were abruptly thrust into the national spotlight when hundreds of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and far-right activists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest their perceived disenfranchisement, chanting slogans like "Jews will not replace us." That "Unite the Right" rally, which erupted into violence that led to the death of one leftist counter-protester as well as many injuries, made clear that racialized white grievance was now a feature of the political landscape.

In the years following, various Republicans have supported various versions of the "great replacement" theory, including Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley, former U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa and Maine Republican vice chair Nick Isgro, all of whom suggested that supporters of legal abortion were deliberately causing a decline in the birth rate among white Americans.

At least three mass shootings have apparently been inspired by the "great replacement" idea: The Tree of Life synagogue killings in Pittsburgh in 2018, the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, and the El Paso Walmart massacre in August 2019.

After those atrocities, the theory appeared to receded from the national discourse — but not forever. Fox News primetime star Tucker Carlson brought it back with a vengeance, saying on the air this April that the Democratic Party was "trying to replace the current electorate" with "new people, more obedient voters from the Third World." There have been calls ever since from progressive and antiracist groups for Carlson's firing — but his fans and followers loved it.

Over the past few months, several prominent Republicans have begun to deploy "great replacement" rhetoric, invoking vague fears about whites being supplanted by ethnic minorities, or even by naming the theory openly.

Last week, Rep. Matt Gaetz, the embattled Florida Republican who has reportedly been under federal investigation for months, tweeted that Carlson was "CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America," even taking a moment to describe the Anti-Defamation League as "a racist organization." Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, made nearly the same claims in a Newsmax interview, saying that Democrats "want to replace the American electorate with a Third World electorate that will be on welfare."

Some Republicans have been at least a bit subtler, alluding to concerns around an influx of minorities changing the cultural fabric of the nation.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who recently replaced Rep. Liz Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference, warned her voters in an ad blitz two weeks ago that Democrats were planning "a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION" by expanding pathways to citizenship.

In early September, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reiterated these concerns to Fox News host Laura Ingraham, warning of a "silent revolution by the Democrat Party and Joe Biden to take over the country."

Citing Biden's alleged plan to loosen borders and admit more immigrants, Patrick said that if "every one of them has two or three children, you're talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters."

In April of this year, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., also echoed these sentiments. "For many Americans," Perry said during a committee hearing, "what seems to be happening, or what they believe right now is happening, is, what appears to them is, we're replacing national-born American — native-born Americans, to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation."

It also seems possible, and perhaps likely, that belief in the possibility of a "great replacement" theory is widespread among Donald Trump's supporters and the Republican base. According to a survey conducted by political scientist Robert Pape, a majority of those who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as the New York Times reports, were "awash in fears that the rights of minorities and immigrants were crowding out the rights of white people in American politics and culture."

How the myth of 'border security' empowers American fascists

The week began with photographs of white men on horseback cracking reins at Black Haitians at the southern border. The El Paso Times captured images of mounted Border Patrol agents trying to force migrants, carrying food and supplies, back over the Rio Grande into Mexico. This week ended with Joe Biden expressing outrage. "I promise you those people will pay," the president told reporters this morning. "They will be investigated. There will be consequences."

That's good, but the larger problem is that the president keeps accepting the premise of "border security" — an ideologically conservative premise. The first step to reforming the government's attitude and hence policy toward the border is to stop accepting the premise as if the GOP means it. They don't. They don't care about "border security." What they care about is having a tool with which to bully Democratic presidents into doing what they want them to do.

That strategy has been wildly successful. The Democrats have been on their heels since at least the Clinton administration. According to the Editorial Board's Elizabeth F. Cohen, professor of political science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School, so-called border security "is a familiar posture, whether or not immigration reform is on the table. Bill Clinton presided over the creation of a legal architecture leading to mass immigrant incarceration. Barack Obama pushed the limits of the deportation infrastructure that was built in the interim, deporting more people from this country than any president to this day."

Biden has proven progressive in ways a lot of progressives have been delighted to discover. When it comes to immigration and border policy, though, he's in the vein of his former boss. Barack Obama once believed mass deportations would inspire the Republicans to negotiate over comprehensive immgration reform. After many years and many families rent asunder, he came to understand they didn't mean what they said. By the time he realized "border security" meant "don't admit Black and brown people" — by the time he realized "illegal immigrants" meant "Black and brown people are illegal" — it was too late.

And yet the Democrats keep talking about "border security" as if the Republicans really believe it's important. Worse, they keep funding it. Customs and Border Patrol is now the biggest federal law enforcement agency in the United States. Along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the CBP eats up "nearly $20 billion a year, a non-trivial portion of which goes to shadowy private companies like Geo Group and Core Civic for incarceration," according to Elizabeth. With virtually unlimited resources comes incredible and virtually unchecked power. "They decide who gets arrested, who gets hearings, who is deported, and who will be jailed indefinitely. They are huge, awash in cash, poorly supervise and incentivized to be maximally cruel," Elizabeth wrote.

You might think that's an acceptable price to prevent drug and human trafficking, gun-running and other criminal activity. You might think that's an acceptable price to keep Americans safe. Fact is, though, you're getting more security from local police departments than you're getting from America's biggest cop shop. For all the billions spent, for all the advanced technology, and for all the miles of border wall built over 20 years, ICE and CBP "have not reduced crime rates, ended the illegal narcotics trade, prevented the flow and use of deadly weapons, or in any other way made people safer," Elizabeth wrote in April.

What has been accomplished? A huge and lawless bureaucracy. ICE is subject to thousands of sexual assault and harrassment complaints every year. CPB is known for working with armed vigilantes who "patrol" the border. An inspector general report found that American citizens and American journalists were being tracked by CPB. Both agencies served as the former president's "secret police" last year. Elizabeth: "There are many reasons that we find ourselves living with two sprawling immigration police forces that each year encroach further on the basic civil rights and safety of everyone in the US." Me: The more we accept the premise that we need "border security," the more we empower fascists inside the United States government.

Border Patrol's most basic purpose is regulating flows of people in and out of the United States. It can't do its job, though, because its job is impossible. The horsemen incident is a case in point. The pictures we saw showed mounted Border Patrol agents trying to force Haitian migrants back into Mexico. Thing is, they already crossed. They had gone back to Mexico to get food. Video of the horsemen show Haitians just walking around them. It was an exercise invoking images of slave catchers, yes. But it was also an exercise in futility. I mean, more than 10,000 people walked over in broad daylight. The CBP was impotent.

For those wondering if a wall would work, no, it wouldn't. The southern border is nearly 2,000 miles long. Most of it is the Rio Grande. It's subject to seasonal monsoons. That means flooding, major flooding. No sooner does the government put up walls and other barriers than Mother Nature comes along to knock it all down. And if the monsoons don't knock them down, the smugglers will. America's effect at "border security" has been as successful as its war on drugs.

While "border security" isn't attainable (in the way Republicans define it), it might be desirable to try — if the Republicans meant what they said. They don't, though. Every time Barack Obama tried meeting their demands, they created new ones, forcing the former president to keep chasing ever-receding horizons. I don't know what Joe Biden has in mind by putting Haitians on airplanes and sending them back. But if we're ever going to get a Democratic president to change his mind, we have to convince more people that "border security" is a canard.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article referred to "white men on horseback cracking whips at Black Haitians." An original source for that claim subsequently issued a correction, noting, "Our reporting team witnessed at least one agent on horseback swing his reins like a whip. We have updated the story to clarify that fact since it was not an actual whip." This article has been updated to reflect that correction.

Biden is already breaking the pledge from his United Nations speech

President Joe Biden in his recent address at the United Nations announced that the United States will "lead" the world on "human dignity and human rights." If the scenes from the southern border are anything to go by, the reality as it stands is the polar opposite.

It's not just that America's racist past has yet to be accounted for. The past has a direct correlation to the present. In the same way that local police departments have roots in slave catching, in every aspect of state authority imaginable, racism festers. The United Nations recognizes this, and so do countless others around the world.

A true commitment to human rights would mean revolutionizing policy by rooting out systemic white supremacy, with checks and balances that ensure powerful institutions can never again become corrupted by such forces. But far from leaving the dark chapter of the Trump era in the past, a period in which America's longstanding racism was mainstreamed, parading belligerently in the highest corridors of power, the US seems barely able to turn a new page.

Thousands of Black migrants, having gone through a living hell to reach the US, are being met with the kind of inhumane barbarism that the US is quick to call out elsewhere in the world. The argument of the law being enforced is in itself highly questionable, as is the motive of using such an argument. But in any case, it doesn't mean a damn. The scenes at the border are just plain wrong, and it doesn't take a legal expert to know it. Anyone with two eyes, and a heart, can see it.

Black people born in the only nation to ever produce a successful slave revolt, being herded like cattle by white men on horses in the name of the law, is not an accident. It's a policy decision made somewhere along the line by powerful people sitting in offices with houses in suburbs, who would swear blind they believe in democracy.

But as the story of the Haitian migrants at the border continues, the narrative may yet worsen. Just yesterday, reports suggested that some of those Haitians detained at the southern border might be sent to a migrant "facility" at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be "processed."

The United States Department of Homeland Security has since denied the claims, despite the Biden administration advertising a new contract to operate the migrant center at the US naval base there, with an emphasis on the need for Spanish and Haitian Creole speakers.

Taking the DHS at its word, likely means that other Haitian migrants who are captured at sea will be taken to Guantanamo, as has previously been the case, and not the ones we've seen on TV. In other words, the Haitians at Del Rio might be spared imprisonment at Guantanamo, a place accused of carrying out torture, but their very own family members might be sent there instead. So much better.

A healthy dose of skepticism, however, will cast doubt on DHS claims. The published update of the advertised contract is from just a few days ago. And while the migrant facility at Guantanamo is advertised as having the capacity for 120 people, the posting also states that, "the service provider shall be responsible to maintain on site the necessary equipment to erect temporary housing facilities for populations that exceed 120 and up to 400 migrants in a surge event."

A surge in Haitians is what we have seen at the southern border. It is what we will continue to see despite attempts from both governments to stem the flow of people. Could this be why the migrant facility at Gitmo needs managers capable of dealing with greater capacity?

In addition to this, there have been suggestions that of those already deported to Haiti, paperwork was forged with some being deported to Port-au-Prince despite not having left from there in the first place.

These suggestions, alongside the visible conduct of the border authorities both in the US and Mexico, do not inspire confidence that the Haitians at the border will not end up being sent to Guantanamo. And if the border authorities look like slave-catching vigilantes, what kind of individuals will be in charge of the operational custody of the migrants at Guantanamo? It doesn't bear thinking about.

The Biden administration can talk about law and order, and human rights, all it wants. The notion that Haitians can safely claim asylum, as repeated by Mayorkas, is obscene. The horrendous border policies are part and parcel of the hostile messaging by the administration, and deterrent, telling potential asylum seekers "do not come."

The timing of Joe Biden's UN remarks could not be worse. It's one thing to honestly outline a plan, as a new leader, acknowledging that the starting point to the finish line, with the goal of the US leading the world on human rights, might be a long road — to say the least.

But Biden's statement, made while his administration continues to implement and accelerate the very same policies that would make Donald Trump proud, with the evidence literally being televised around the world, is a dangerous form of denialism that's insulting to the victims of the racist border violence we have seen.

And it's getting worse for Biden.

In his bid to appease voters illogically clinging to unfounded lies about migrants and border fears, the border controversies have whipped up a political storm. A senior US diplomat and special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, has now stepped down having handed his resignation to Anthony Blinken, saying that he would "not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees" while slamming the border policies as "deeply flawed." His resignation letter also argued that Haiti as a "collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime."

Foote's honesty means he has no place in an administration that's digging in over its globally criticized border policies, and even fighting a federal court judgement ordering an end to families being deported and prevented from setting foot on US soil under Title 42.

Politically, there might be no easy options for the president. But the promises of his campaign, and the human rights and dignity he speaks of, are really universal values. His administration should have the guts to do the right thing, regardless of the political consequences.

Better to try and fail than to fail to try.

'Defies common decency': Schumer calls on Biden admin to halt Haitian deportations, end Title 42

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer forcefully condemned the Biden administration's mass deportation of Haitian asylum-seekers and migrants, as well as its continued use of the previous administration's scientifically unsound and unlawful anti-asylum Title 42 policy. The speech, delivered from the Senate chamber on Tuesday, represents one of the most significant criticisms of the administration's actions yet.

"Right now, I am told there are four flights scheduled to deport these asylum seekers back to a country that cannot receive them. Such a decision defies common sense. It also defies common decency," Schumer said. Per CBS News, the Biden administration deported 523 Haitians on those four deportation flights, with another four scheduled for Wednesday.

Haitian asylum-seekers have been among the at least 700,000 people deported by the Biden administration under the anti-asylum Title 42 policy, revealed last October to have been implemented under political pressure by the previous administration. "The top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor who oversees these types of orders had refused to comply with a Trump administration directive saying there was no valid public health reason to issue it," the Associated Press reported.

Despite this fact, the Biden administration announced in August it was continuing the flawed policy. To the dismay of asylum-seekers, their advocates, and all who believe in U.S. asylum law, the administration last week appealed a court decision that had ordered it to stop using the policy to deport families. In his remarks on Tuesday, Schumer joined the chorus of voices urging the administration to respect the U.S. asylum rights of vulnerable people and end the policy once and for all.

"I urge President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to immediately put a stop to these expulsions and to end this Title 42 policy at our southern border," Schumer said. "We cannot continue these hateful and xenophobic Trump policies that disregard our refugee laws. We must allow asylum seekers to present their claims at our ports of entry and be afforded due process."

Schumer also condemned racist abuse committed by border agents, saying "[w]e've all seen these horrible images coming from our southern border as Haitian asylum-seekers—simply looking to escape tyranny and the problems that they have in their country—have been met at our doorstep with unimaginable indignity. Images of Haitian migrants being hit with whips and other forms of physical violence is completely unacceptable. This behavior must be addressed and we must provide accountability. The images turn your stomach. It must be stopped, this kind of violence."

So must the deportations and Title 42. "First, the facts. Haitians, like all people, have a legal right to seek asylum in the United States," UndocuBlack Network co-director Patrice Lawrence wrote on CNN. "What should the United States do? It should honor the law on asylum and allow these migrants to exercise their rights. The United States has the tools to ensure an orderly and fair process to determine each asylum seeker's case. We have done this before: From 1980 to 1990, the United States processed more than 100,000 Cubans seeking safety during the Mariel boatlift. And this was done under a Republican administration."

"The moral argument is even clearer," Lawrence continued. "Haitians have gone through tremendous hardship and are asking only for the opportunity to exercise their right to seek asylum. Groups like Haitian Bridge Alliance stand ready to assist those seeking safety, as do dozens of religious and non-religious community partners."

Dozens of lawmakers led by House Haiti Caucus co-chair Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Nydia Velázquez have previously called on the Biden administration to halt Haitian deportations, writing that the nation's "ability to safely receive its citizens will take months, if not years, to secure." Like Lawrence noted, the Biden administration acknowledged that in designating Haiti for Temporary Protected Status earlier this year. The Biden administration should be respecting the fundamental asylum rights of Haitians, not deporting them back to harm and unsafe conditions.

"I commit to work with this administration to providing the resources so that we can establish safe, orderly, and humane processes for those seeking protection," Schumer concluded in his remarks. "Again, the policies that are being enacted now—and the horrible treatment of these innocent people who have come to the border—must stop immediately."

Happy Holidays!