I often deride this country’s immigration bureaucracies for lacking in American values. Both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are intolerant of diversity, have no appreciation for privacy, and have little respect for freedom.
I get them confused all the time. As near as I can tell, the difference is that if they’re being assholes to people crossing the border, it’s CBP, but if they’re being assholes to people who are already here, it’s ICE. As a separate matter, if they’re being assholes to people they suspect of committing crimes, then HSI is probably involved. And of course if they’re being assholes in airports, it’s the TSA. Really, it’s probably all of DHS. They’re probably all assholes.
Anyway, Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason gave us a few good examples of ICE (or maybe HSI) being assholes in a recent post:
On September 1, 2016, “Sunny” Kimnam gave a massage and a hand-job to an undercover police informant. Since that day, she has been incarcerated, and faces likely deportation to Korea.
They aren’t the only ones who’ve been caught up in immigration after a prostitution bust:
A 2016 sting on a massage parlor in Macomb County, Michigan, that led to the arrest of five Chinese women on prostitution charges has already led to the deportation of two of the women. Two others are still in custody, awaiting trial. The fifth woman, 50-year-old Meijuan Yu, just recently plead guilty to offering prostitution and was sentenced to two years probation—deferred so that Homeland Security could immediately take her into custody and get started on deporting her back to China.
On February 9, 2017, Homeland Security Investigations teamed up with two county sheriff’s offices to raid Donah’s Massage Therapy in Winnie, Texas, as part of an undercover investigation they’d been plotting since December. Three women—Song Ja Hyun, 59, Shunyu Quan, 53, and Ying Yu Jin, 53—were arrested and charged with misdemeanor prostitution; Jin was also charged with aggravated promoting prostitution, a felony. As of earlier this week, Hyun and Jin were being held in Chambers County Jail on ICE detainers, according to ABC affiliate 12 News Now.
Sex workers are common targets for immigration authorities. Here’s an example of CBP harassing a woman they think might by involved in prostitution. And here’s another example of them blocking entry to the U.S. by a suspected male escort.
This is wrong on so many levels, but the thing that most boggles my mind, the thing that really shows the depths of depravity of our immigration authorities is that foreigners are coming here to have sex with us, and these assholes are stopping them!
What the fuck? Why the hell would they do that to us?
Hand jobs are funny, so at first glance this sounds like a funny story. Perhaps it even sounds like I’m making light of a serious situation. I’m sorry for that, but I have a serious point to make, which I’ll get to in a minute.
I don’t mean to downplay how much it sucks to be blocked from entering the country, and I know that getting deported is a disaster for many people: They get locked up, they lose their jobs, they’re separated from family and friends, and they could easily lose their personal property and pets. By the time it’s all done, they could end up in a country that they hate. Or worse, they could end up in a country that hates them. That’s terrible, and I don’t think we should be putting people through that without a damned good reason. And I don’t think minor crimes — including illegal entry — are good reasons.
However, a lot of immigration hawks don’t care that they’re putting these people through hell. They’re immigrants, and they either entered illegally or committed a crime while here (or so ICE says), so who gives a shit what happens to them, right? They have no rights that an immigration cop is bound to respect.
Given that attitude, maybe I need to try another argument. Which brings me back to hand jobs. And to the serious point I need to make: Deporting “Sunny” Kimnam is undoubtedly bad for her. But it’s also bad for all us Americans who will no longer be able to get hand jobs from her. We are suffering too.
I know, hand jobs are funny…but it’s not just about hand jobs. Immigrants, including illegal immigrants, do a lot of jobs for us Americans. They farm our food, or catch it at sea. They plant forests, care for them, and cut them into timber. They build and maintain buildings, and care for the grounds around them. They make our clothes, prepare our food, and clean our houses. They help us around the office and sell our products. They do a lot of things. And yes, some of them do sex work. But the thing is, they are working for us, and taking them away takes away the benefits of the things they do.
Immigrants aren’t just a labor force, however. They are also, by the millions, our customers. By their employment they earn money, and by spending that money, they employ us. They are part of our rich and diverse economy. They are working with us to improve all our lives. Taking them away takes away the benefits of trading with them.
Even more than that, immigrants, including illegal immigrants, are members of our families — husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents. They are our neighbors. They are important members of our communities. They are our friends and our lovers. Taking them away takes away takes away their friendship, their care, and their love.
The folks running our immigration authorities may think the lives of illegal immigrants deserve no respect. They may think illegal immigrants deserve the harm that comes to them when they are deported. But we are their fellow Americans, and we goddamned well deserve respect. Every time they remove someone, we lose all the benefits of having that person in our lives, and the fact that they got laws passed to make the removal legal does nothing to reduce the loss.
They are harming us, their fellow Americans. Which makes them about as anti-American as you can get.