At a White House event Monday honoring the “heroes” of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), President Trump invited Latinx U.S. Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua to the podium to describe how he arrested a human smuggler for transporting 78 undocumented immigrants in a trailer.
“You’re not nervous right?” Trump said as Anzaldua approached the lectern. “Speaks perfect English!”
Aside from the fact that the comment carried racist undertones — Anzaldua, after all, is a federal employee of the U.S. government — it was a strange, off-color remark to make, especially considering the president’s own gaffes throughout the White House event.
Multiple times throughout the speech, as those monitoring the event were quick to point out, Trump referred to CBP as “CBC,” despite appearing to read the agency’s name directly from a teleprompter.
Trump just thanked "ICE and CBC" in the opening line of his speech.
— Dara Lind (@DLind) August 20, 2018
Trump also appeared to suggest that ICE was freeing American citizens across the country from MS-13 gangs. “They’re actually liberating towns,” he said.
As ProPublica has reported, MS-13 is not organizing to foil immigration law, nor is there a crisis involving members posing as “fake families at the border” to get into the United States on asylum, as Trump has claimed in the past.
Trump also repeated his false claim that Democrats “don’t mind” crime, pointing to their strong opposition to his plan for a multi-billion dollar wall along the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. As many have noted, there are several reasons critics have taken issue with the border wall, not the least of which is its continually ballooning price tag.
The White House event honoring CBP and ICE “heroes” comes at a time when many progressive politicians are calling for the latter agency’s abolition, over a multitude of allegations against its members and leadership.
As recently reported, ICE has been working in tandem with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to trap undocumented immigrants seeking legal status by arresting them during meetings with immigration officials and subsequently deporting some of them.
In emails obtained by the ACLU, USCIS employees said it was their “job to locate and arrest [undocumented immigrants].”
ICE’s tactic of tricking and trapping immigrants seeking legal status in the United States falls in line with a recent report by NBC News that found federal arrests of non-criminal undocumented immigrants have tripled under the Trump administration. At least 58,010 undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions were arrested in the first 14 months of the Trump administration alone, many of them without warrants.