How the Trump administration is putting public records under threat, so history may never know the awful things they did

Many abuses of the Trump administration are sadly nothing out of the ordinary — rather, they're just continuations of the snowballing precedent of presidential power abuses set forth by their predecessors. But there are still some ways in which Trump's real estate legal bullying tactics have made for a uniquely terrible and dangerous situation. Consider his liberal use of non-disclosure agreements that trap public servants — people whose should be part of the public record to which they should be held accountable — in a catch-22 between legal transparency and legal retaliation.

But it goes further than that, too.

The National Archives have already been struggling to keep up with the paper records that the President has destroyed — a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act. Archivists have allegedly been fired when trying to piece together those little scraps of paperwork. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the administration has now made it an official policy that records of ICE abuses be treated as temporary documents, immune from the eye of history. From the New York Times:

In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of people posted critical comments, and dozens of senators and representatives objected. The National Archives made some changes to the plan, but last month it announced that ICE could go ahead and start destroying records from Mr.

Read the rest

CBP went against court orders and deported an Iranian student with a fully legal presence in the country

Shahab Dehghani is an Iranian citizen and college student who has been studying in Boston for the past several years. According to MassLive, he had been in the United States for two years while enrolled at UMass Boston. Dehghani had planned to transfer to Northeastern University, but returned home to Iran in December 2018, and had to wait a year for his F-1 student visa to get re-approved. With all the proper paperwork in place, he returned to Boston to start his first semester at Northeastern.

Upon landing at Logan Airport this past Sunday, he was immediately detained US Customs and Border Protection agents.

The agents wanted to remove him from the country right away. But a federal court upheld an emergency stay from Dehghani's lawyer that would ensure he remained in the country for 48-hours until a proper hearing could be held. According to that same lawyer, CBP deported Dehghani anyway.

It's kind of hard for authoritarian law enforcement to argue that they're upholding "law and order" when they're literally disobeying the law. But somehow that never stops them.

Student Deported From Boston Despite Federal Court Order [Shannon Dooling / WBUR]

Image of Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Homeland Security labelled a group of volunteer doctors as "radical political activists"

The Trump administration's brazen propaganda game has always been strong, and always finds impressive new ways to out-horrible itself.

So this is really just the latest example of dehumanizing language presented in an official context.

The Washington Examiner article linked to in the tweet is hardly objective, but even it still holds back from this kind of labelling.

Left-wing organizations that have called for the closing of immigrant detention facilities said they were turned away from a Border Patrol facility in Southern California after showing up to provide what they said were flu vaccines for detainees.

Members from Doctors for Camp Closures, Families Belong Together, and Never Again Action arrived at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station in San Ysidro, California, Monday saying they wanted to vaccinate adults and children in temporary custody. The organizations said employees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who oversee station operations, turned them away.

Which part of this is "radical," exactly? Is it the belief in vaccines? Treating immigrants like human beings? Trying to prevent disease from spreading? Or handing out free healthcare?

I'm even willing (begrudgingly so) to overlook the CBP policy that allegedly required these Border Patrol agents to turn the doctors away. Maybe there's a reason for that policy that's not inherently xenophobic and authoritarian (maybe); the Examiner article does note that, "Detainees at Border Patrol facilities are not supposed to be kept for more than 72 hours, and people can get flu vaccines after they are transferred out of CBP custody to other agencies." Read the rest

Border agents seize 154 pounds of 'prohibited bologna' at Texas crossing

154 pounds of 'prohibited bologna' from Mexico was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at a Texas border crossing point, according to a zesty CBP news release that's making the news rounds today. Read the rest

CBP officer refuses to allow American journalist into the country until he admits he writes "propaganda"

Ben Watson is a reporter for Defenseone, a news site that covers "US defense and National Security" who formerly served in the US Army as a public affairs officer; last week, Watson returned to the USA after an assignment in Denmark, entering the country at Dulles Airport. Read the rest

CBP searched 30,000 devices last year without warrant, up 4x from 3 years prior

The US is increasingly rejecting entry to people because of content sent to those persons by others, on social media and messaging apps. Read the rest

Trump immigration thugs can't deny kids water, food, toilets, or sleep: Federal Appeals Court

A Federal appeals court today upheld an order that requires Trump immigration authorities with the US Customs and Border Patrol to provide detained migrant kids with the humane basics: food, water, bedding, toothbrushes, soap, and conditions in which children can be expected to sleep.

“Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety,” said the court.

A lot of ICE agents are gonna haz a sad tonight, as will Donald Trump's White House concentration camp advocate Stephen Miller. Read the rest

Googlers circulate petition demanding a moratorium on contracts with US border agencies

Despite the departure of its most prominent leaders amid claims of harassment and retaliation, the Googler Uprising lives on, with Google employees circulating an internal petition demanding that the company not contract with US border agencies to provide any kind of services, on the grounds that US immigration authorities are notorious abusers of human rights. Read the rest

Border Patrol investigating 62 employees, 8 ex-employees over racist CBP Facebook group

Some 9,500 members were in the racist 'I'm 10-15' CBP Facebook group

CBP employees' new challenge coin mocks care for migrant kids

Challenge Coins have their origins in the military; they're a little like a mission patch, commemorating some element of service or event, and they serve as a kind of badge of honor or respect -- you can show a challenge coin you've been given to people who were associated with its issuance as a way of demonstrating that you're on the same side. Read the rest

For years, the chief of the Border Patrol was a member of the secret CBP Facebook group for racist and threatening chatter

Last week, Propublica revealed the existence of "I'm 10-15", a secret Facebook group for current and former Customs and Border Protection employees -- a group with 9,500 members, while CBP's total workforce numbers 58,000 -- where it was commons for members to share violent, racist, sexist, misogynist, rape-y memes, including some that threatened and disparaged members of Congress. Read the rest

Leaked Palantir 'Gotham' user manual shows how fast police and government can grab your info

“The Palantir user guide shows that police can start with almost no information about a person of interest and instantly know extremely intimate details about their lives.”

"I'm 10-15": the secret CBP Facebook group full of racism, sexism, and jokes about migrant deaths

10-15 is Customs and Border Protection's code for "aliens in custody"; "I'm 10-15" is a secret Facebook group for current and former CBP officers whose participants create and share a torrent of racist and sexist memes, as well as jokes about the deaths of migrants in their care. Read the rest

Hackers stole a US Customs and Border Patrol facial recognition database

Data from facial recognition scans performed by US Customs and Border Patrol on travelers crossing at an unnamed lander border point (an anonymous source says it's a US-Canada crossing) have been stolen by hacker or hackers unknown. Read the rest

Emails show Trump's 'zero tolerance' agents had 'no way to link' separated migrant children to parents

The cruelty is the point.

The ACLU made the Border Patrol reveal its terrifying legal theories

After four years of Freedom of Information Act litigation, the ACLU has prevailed and forced the Customs and Border Patrol to release 1,000 pages' worth of training documents in which new agents learn when they can stop people and what they can do after they stop them. Read the rest

Lawsuit: US citizen suing CBP for coercing him into unlocking his phone during boarding at LAX

Haisam Elsharkawi is a US citizen of Egyptian descent who was travelling to Mecca in 2017 when he was pulled out the boarding line for his flight from LAX by CBP agents who demanded that he unlock his phones; when he refused and asked for a lawyer, he was handcuffed and taken to an interrogation room where he was questioned and bullied until he unlocked his phones; the CBP officers spent 15 minutes paging through his emails, making snarky remarks about his Amazon purchase history and how many unread emails he had, and then let him go. Read the rest

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