A recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) explains how the government uses distorted data to justify its policies.
The study focused on the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which is cited by elected officials and the media as a legitimate source of information.
The Center was founded by White nationalist John Tanton and serves as an anti-immigrant think tank, reported the SPLC.
“Oh, I’m convinced that he’s wrong about all the facts and issues. They’re wrong about the impact of immigration on the U.S. economy and on U.S. society,” said Alex Nowasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the CATO institute on NPR in early 2017.
The Intercept recently published a series of internal emails from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) during immigration raids earlier this year which substantiates the report’s findings that elected officials and media organizations embellish details in order to criminalize the immigration population in the U.S. and justify political policies.
“CIS research is always questionable because they torture the data to make it arrive at the conclusion they desire, which is that immigrants are criminals and a burden on the U.S. and our economy. It is the worst kind of deception, but politicians, the conservative media and some Americans eat it up because it always looks somewhat legitimate at first glance,” said Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, according to the SPLC report.
Emails reveal that in February ICE officials were instructed by an ICE executive in Washington to highlight, for the media, the three most notorious cases in each city where a raid was performed in order to support the administration’s immigration agenda, reported The Intercept.
“They’re wrong about the impact of immigration on the US economy and on US society”
However, according to the emails, ICE officials had a hard time finding the heinous criminal immigrants that President Donald J. Trump’s administration had promised to target, according to The Intercept.
“I think what those emails make very clear is that we have a federal law enforcement agency that’s willing to lie, just like Trump is willing to lie, in order to continue the criminalization of immigrant communities,” said Austin City, Texas, councilmember Greg Casar.
In February, ICE arrested 51 undocumented immigrants in Austin, Texas. Of those detained 28 had no criminal record, which had many in the community wondering why the city was a political target, The Intercept reported.
In November of 2016, Sally Hernandez, Travis County sheriff-elect, had promised to make Austin a sanctuary city.
“The sheriff’s office will not be part of a deportation force that sacrifices hundreds and thousands of people, our neighbors, to a broken federal immigration system,” said Hernandez.
The issue of politically motivated immigration raids resurfaced in September when ICE officials targeted sanctuary cities in Operation Safe City, The Intercept reported.
“Yet again, the Trump administration is attempting to terrorize immigrant communities, keep families in fear, and undermine the trust immigrants have in cities that refuse to subsidize federal immigration enforcement,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-director of the Center for Popular Democracy, according to The Intercept.
ICE officials claim that they have to conduct more at-large arrests in regions that refuse to uphold ICE detainers, which direct local agencies to keep undocumented immigrants beyond their original sentence. That makes sanctuary cities like Austin and San Francisco targets for ICE.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 54, which makes the state a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. The law’s intent is to promote public safety by alleviating immigrant fears of deportation when they need to interact with local law enforcement agencies.
“(The law) reaffirms what we have held since the beginning, which is that California law enforcement should not be used to assist in mass deportations,” said Ed Medrano, president of the California Police Chiefs Association.