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Photo: US Customs and Border Protection

Donald Trump is officially kicking off his reelection campaign at a rally in Orlando tonight, so it only makes sense he'd want to preview it by whipping up the base with some red immigration meat. That's why, during his late-night Twitter fit, the "president" announced the Goon Squad would be coming to town and rounding up "millions" of undocumented immigrants. We suppose it's a bit like the sort of celebratory atrocities you'd expect in bad science fiction: To mark the Tyrant's birthday, we'll vaporize the Rebels' home planet, YAY!

Millions! Trump appeared to be referring to one of immigration Obersturmbannführer Stephen Miller's dream projects, a plan for a "blitz" against thousands of immigrant families who have received court orders for deportation but are still in the country. Miller and Trump had been pushing the idea since last September. But earlier this year, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ron Vitiello put the kibosh on the plan, citing concerns that it would be a logistical clusterfuck, not to mention terrible publicity. They were also concerned that deporting undocumented parents of children who are US citizens would lead to messy situations and bad publicity -- not the morality, just the logistics and optics. So both Vitiello and Nielsen were shitcanned and replaced by new people who thought mass deportations would be just the right thing to promote the Rule of Law, especially if it means the Great Man is happy.

Acting ICE director Mark Morgan, who replaced Vitiello, confirmed earlier in June that an operation to remove families, as a deterrent to new migration, was very much in the planning stages, telling reporters, "I think we can't exempt anybody [...] That will include families."

Mind you, the Washington Post notes that surprise immigration sweeps generally involve a bit more "surprise."

Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.

In accordance with the rules of how these things always go, Trump's tweet left the immigration agencies struggling to find anything to say about it, according to WaPo:

U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.

As for the scope of the operation Trump conjured up, "millions" seems a bit fanciful, but since we're living in the age of the Marching Morons, where a small inauguration crowd is the biggest event ever and moderate economic growth is a fantastic, unprecedented expansion unseen in history, it only makes sense that MILLIONS of undocumented families are about to be deported. The Post notes it's likely to be awful anyway, but not likely to involve anything like the scale Trump will nonetheless claim is happening:

Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning to verify addresses and locations of individuals targeted for arrest.

The president's claim that ICE would be deporting "millions" also was at odds with the reality of the agency's staffing and budgetary challenges. ICE arrests in the U.S. interior have been declining in recent months because so many agents are busy managing the record surge of migrant families across the southern border with Mexico.

While the operation is likely to fall well short of the wholesale ethnic cleansing Trumpers dream of, there are plenty of opportunities for things to take a seriously evil turn:

The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend's house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.

And when -- not if -- that happens (as it has been for years now), there'll be no shortage of Americans contentedly reminding us that the Bible tells us to follow the law, and a few hundreds, or thousands, of traumatized children are simply the price of being a nation of laws, at least for those who don't have the best lawyers and a TV network shilling for them. Besides, as we all know by now, the cruelty IS the point. There will be horror stories, and they will be trumpeted as proof that we're finally tough enough, and if people continue to seek asylum in the US, that will be seen as proof that liberals and courts have failed to allow the truly tough actions that are needed to finally stop this "invasion." Possibly some indiscriminate shootings would do the job.

But things appear poised to get much worse. Don't wait for the atrocities to start. We need to be organizing, supporting groups that help asylum seekers, and if at all possible, turning out for (or starting!) local efforts to stand up and say NO. Any of us, if we're not among the targets, must do what we can to get in the way.

[WaPo / Politico]

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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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