In advance of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions that were supposed to take place in multiple cities across the U.S., including Denver, last weekend, more than 2,000 protesters marched on an ICE detention facility in Aurora Friday, carrying signs that said “Abolish ICE,” “Being Civil Got Us Baby Jails” and “Let Them All In!”
Protesters broke through a chain marked “Private property – no trespassing,” hauled down the American flag and replaced it with the flag of Mexico. A masked protester was photographed by the Denver Post dragging the American flag away, across the ground. They hauled up two more flags, an American flag upside-down with “Abolish ICE” spray-painted on it, and a banner with a cartoon turtle and a famous four-letter word applied to “cops.”
Who did it? “Authorities have not identified those responsible, though a group describing itself as ‘Denver Communists’ posted Facebook photos from areas that were off-limits to protesters,” the Post reported.
Denver Communists posted that story on its Facebook page, saying it was “from a newspaper describing itself as ‘The Denver Post’” and was hailed for its flag role by commenters.
Cristian Solano-Córdova of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said it had planned the protest and coordinated with the other group but was not affiliated with communists.
“These were our so-called allies,” Solano-Córdova said. “We’re trying to be completely inclusive. We want ICE to stop caging our sisters and brothers, but not in that manner. It accomplishes nothing.” Candi CdeBaca, the incoming socialist Denver city councilwoman, however, told the Post, “This is what democracy looks like.”
The argument there is that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and resistance. But here is something curious – a Politico article from Jan. 6, 2016 with the headline “Obama administration kicks off family deportation raids.”
“The Obama administration confirmed Monday that it began a new wave of arrests of Central American immigrant families over the weekend,” it says, “moving forward with deportations of mothers and children despite an outcry from immigrant rights groups and potential political fallout for Democrats.”
“This should come as no surprise,” then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a prepared statement. “I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama supported deportation of those who recently entered the U.S. illegally. And candidate Donald Trump took credit for them, despite a history of such actions long predating his candidacy.
There is only one explanation for all this. Trump, through a steady stream of bluster, tweets and provocations over the last three years, has induced collective amnesia about immigration, among other policy matters. It is not what the government is doing that is extraordinary, sadly – it is really just him.
Last weekend’s vaunted ICE raids turned out to be like a gun which fires a flag that says “Bang!” But what the threat also does, dependably, lately, is bring out the worst on the Democrats’ left flank. It’s as though Trump’s unbecoming penchant for drama and invective infects them.
It’s both sides now – and in neither case does it lead to good government or policy, let alone solutions.
It leads to more bluster and flag desecration.
Someone ought to stop them all before they really go too far.