As immigrants in the Trump era, we have witnessed virtually every single ICE operative that has ever been caught on video. The viralization of images through the media that we usually consult to keep ourselves informed on the subject of migration, today more than ever, has set a very clear pattern that ranges from initial indignation to permanent psychological terror.
In fact, the present government knows that it has achieved, only to a certain extent, its objective.
Thus, changes in routines, caution in public spaces, inhibition of seeking assistance, increasing distrust of local and state police authorities, low school performance, or travel to less hostile regions are some of the changes that have largely occurred in the immigrant community as a result of the persecution of the White House’s so-called deportation machinery.
“You’ve seen too many movies! We’ll show you the warrant when we’re done. You don’t control the situation, we do!”
Faced with this planned way of subjugating the immigrant, at the very beginning of the official hostilities, lists proliferated with advice to avoid being caught during the operations, among which something basic was highlighted: not to open the door and, in any case, to ask the agents to slide it underneath it if there was a court order. But above all – and this was insisted on – not to open up to ICE agents for any reason without first having confirmed the existence of such an order. Experts in law and pro-immigrant organizations testified that this was the best defense.
However, in a recent viral video captured by a Latino family in their home in San Diego, something happened that has exceeded the limits of indignation. According to various press reports, ICE agents went to the home of immigrant Alberto Alonso Hernández. The agents demanded Hernández’ wife and daughter open the door; while the wife and daughter followed legal protocol and continually asked for a warrant, they were taunted by ICE agents.
“You’ve seen too many movies!”, one of the agents laughs back. “We’ll show you the warrant when we’re done. You don’t control the situation, we do!”
The video shows the terror as the ICE agents forced open the door of the family’s house with a special tool.
Let’s stop there: whether or not there was in fact one or more justifications for arresting Alberto Alonso Hernández, what is the message that the immigration authorities want to send this time with the attitude of their agents when they mock them for demanding a court order as part of the proper protocol?
“They’ve seen too many movies” is a phrase that has the whole intention of invalidating the minimal defense tools available to a vulnerable community that has been under constant attack and that has only followed to the letter the series of advice that experts in the field have given from the beginning.
To highlight his performance, after taking the immigrant, one of the ICE agents, as shown in the video, shows the court order, which he only drops to the floor, without handing it over to the arrested person’s family. The image itself is worthy of a film about infamy.
Indeed, the siege had intensified since these agents crossed the threshold of the house, the last stronghold of the defeated.
Every day we see that the faces of intimidation have begun to show more aggressively, as is the case in many of the immigrants’ countries of origin; where judicial systems simply operate on the basis of the code of arbitrariness and the law of the holder of power, who orders that every door be literally kicked open.
David Torres is a Spanish-language Advisor at America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund. Americasvoice.org.
Translation by Juan Carlos Uribe