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You don't tamper with a successful formula just because it's racist.


Donald Trump took some time Wednesday to head to Bethpage, New York, so he could lead what was billed as a "roundtable on immigration," but was instead just another chance to demonize undocumented immigrants, who as everyone knows are virtually all murderers, rapists, and rapist murderers. Also, maybe one or two good people, although Trump can't vouch for that.

There, Trump explained that liberals simply don't understand why we have to separate kids from families who cross the border illegally, and be fearful of migrant kids -- especially the ones claiming to be fleeing gangs and violence in Central America. Trump introduced the parents of two teenaged girls murdered by MS-13, and explained all migrant kids may as well be gang members:

Their beautiful daughters were murdered by MS-13 gang members, many of whom exploited glaring loopholes — and we have the biggest loopholes of any country anywhere in the world. We have the worst immigration laws of any country anywhere in the world — but they exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.

They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.

Trump then launched into a lovingly detailed catalog of horrors perpetrated by MS-13, because why shouldn't all federal policy be based on the most brutal details of the most extreme examples? We'll admit we didn't watch the full video of the event, but we can only assume that at some point in the proceedings, as he talked about the "dozens" of MS-13 murders in Suffolk County, Long Island, Trump literally waved a bloody shirt all over the table.

Trump also took the opportunity to repeat that gang members aren't even remotely human, and why are Democrats defending MS-13 all the time, huh?

I notice recently where Democrats — Nancy Pelosi as an example — are trying to defend MS-13 gang members. I called them "animals" the other day, and I was met with rebuke. They said, "They’re people." They’re not people. These are animals, and we have to be very, very tough.

Because you know he'd never sloppily conflate gangs with all migrants from Central America, except for every single time he's ever talked about immigration.

Just to be sure he got in on the immigrant-bashing (sure, they only mean gang members -- who could be any of the browns!), ICE director Thomas Homan jumped in to explain that Trump had been remarkably restrained in his language, because "Animals kill for survival. MS-13 kills for sport. They kill to terrorize, and there's a big difference there." The impact of those very strong words was somewhat diminished by Homan's reading through the lines in a strangely uninflected rush, like a nervous eighth grader:

While Homan was at it, he played the lying-with-statistics game to suggest that the 2014 wave of unaccompanied minors had brought with it simply TONS of criminals. Homan said that out of about 300 people arrested on Long Island last year and suspected to have MS-13 connections, over 40 percent had entered the US as unaccompanied minors. That would be pretty terrible, if it were true! But it's worth noting that the crackdown, called "Operation Matador," scooped up lots of teenagers on little or no evidence, including hearsay, being seen talking to someone who was in a gang, or wearing a shirt that a school resource officer decided just had to be proof of gang membership. Some were released after judges found ICE had no evidence, although ICE continued to insist, of course, that they were the worst of the worst.

See also the case of "Henry," the teen arrested and targeted for deportation after he helped the FBI arrest MS-13 members. His FBI contact hinted he'd be put into witness protection, but instead he was arrested. ProPublica and New York magazine documented that Kafkaesque clusterfuck, and there are new developments: Henry has a hearing coming up a week from today, and may finally get out of detention -- maybe. Henry also came to the US as an unaccompanied minor.

Some pretty good fodder for hysteria there, and you can bet it'll be getting plenty of play from the Usual Suspects in the wingnuttosphere. Mere reality has a way of sneaking out, however, and did so even yesterday. Geraldine Hart, Suffolk County's police commissioner, said the county hadn't recorded any MS-13 murders in the past year:

Huh! Looks like the ICE crackdown maybe caught a whole bunch of bad guys (just don't talk about the falsely accused kids who were also swept up, OK?), and all that "blood-soaked killing fields" stuff, and Trump's constant talk of murderous animals, is just designed to whip up hysteria in an election year, and to sink "moderate" Republican attempts at fixing DACA? Let us now put on our surprised faces.

As the Washington Post points out, while the administration is doing its damnedest to suggest huge numbers of migrant kids are dangerous, the government's own evidence says otherwise:

From October 2011 until June of last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials arrested about 5,000 individuals with confirmed or suspected gang ties, according to congressional testimony from the agency’s acting chief, Carla Provost, in June.

Of the 5,000 figure, 159 were unaccompanied minors, Provost testified, and 56 were suspected or confirmed to have ties with MS-13. In that overall time frame, CBP apprehended about 250,000 unaccompanied minors, according to Provost.

Gee, 159 total suspected unaccompanied minors in gangs -- or just 56 in MS-13 -- out of 250,000 unaccompanied kids seems strangely less threatening, doesn't it? Even the larger number works out to .06 -- six one-hundredths -- of a percent.

Sure would be nice if we had a presidential administration with that low a proportion of criminals in it.

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[WaPo / Aaron Rupar on Twitter / ThinkProgress / WaPo / Intercept / NPR / PBS Frontline]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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