SYNDICATED COLUMN: Immigration Ethics 101: How to Resist Trump’s ICE Deportation Goons

Related image            The Clash sang-advised: “know your rights.” But few people do.

President Donald Trump is hell-bent on deporting millions of people, including kids who came to the U.S. so young that they’re Americans in every way but their immigration status. He even signed an executive order that would allow the arrest and deportation of fully-vetted green card holders the authorities say are suspected of any offense — including a traffic ticket.

I don’t believe in open borders. A country that doesn’t control who enters its territory hardly qualifies as a nation-state. But let’s get real about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. They’re not criminals. They’re victims.

Corporations strive to keep the wages and negotiating leverage of American workers low. They’ve pressured their pet politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — to increase the labor supply with immigrants both legal (e.g. the much-abused H1B visa program) and undocumented. Illegals are powerless and scared. Business can’t get enough of them.

If you’re un- or underemployed, illegal immigrants are your comrades. Your joint struggle should be fought against your mutual enemy, the cheap and greedy employers who deploy divide-and-conquer propaganda like Trump’s.

Like the people of Nazi-occupied Europe, we will someday be judged for our actions (and inactions) in response to the Republicans’ inhumane mass deportations. But what should we do? Unlike Europeans, white Americans never developed a culture of resistance or a system of ethical standards to which decent people are expected to adhere.

First, know your rights. Even if you’re here illegally, you have rights under the Constitution. However, the police and their colleagues in Immigration and Customs Enforcement don’t want you to know that — and they’ll lie straight to your face. So get educated about the basics.

If an ICE agent comes to your door, don’t answer. They can’t come in without an arrest warrant signed by a judge. If you talk to them, the ACLU advises, don’t open the door. If you do open the door, they may ask if they can come in. Say no. If they present a warrant for your arrest, don’t physically resist. Go with them. Simply demand to speak with an attorney and declare that you will remain silent. Then shut up. Always carry contact information for an attorney with you, and memorize his or her name and phone number since a card or phone will be taken away from you in jail.

If you are here legally, spread this information to people you know who are not.

Second, don’t snitch. If you know or suspect that someone is here illegally, do not tell the authorities or anyone in contact with them. At the bare minimum, discretion requires limiting your contact with members of law enforcement and, of course, ICE agents. Talking to cops or ICE agents is always fraught but never more so than now — so ethics-minded American citizens should break off contact with anyone they suspect of working for the deportation squads.

Morality dictates that you lie to police or ICE agents if they ask you for information about an undocumented neighbor. But be aware of the risks: Trump’s mass deportation order provides for criminal penalties for Good Samaritans “who facilitate [illegals’] presence in the United States.”

Finally, if you’re a deportation thug you must quit your job. Needing to earn a living does not absolve you from accountability for wrongdoing. Death camp guards and slave catchers had bills to pay too. They could tell themselves that what they were doing to get by was lawful. But it wasn’t right — and a lot of people knew that at the time.

Consider, for example, the case of Guadalupe García de Rayos. After 22 years in the U.S. — her parents brought her to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 14 — she was arrested by ICE agents in Phoenix, who deported her in 24 hours. She left behind two U.S.-born children, both citizens. How can those ICE idiots live with themselves?

It is better to sleep under a bridge and starve to death than to participate in a mass-scale deportation program targeted at the most vulnerable members of society — and the most law-abiding (except for their presence in the U.S.). On the other hand, there is incredible power in refusing to obey an immoral order. How long would Trump’s mass deportations — or his presidency — last if thousands of police officers and ICE agents were to call press conferences and resign rather than deport an innocent family?

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)


  • H-1b workers are hired, allegedly, because they are more highly skilled than American citizens.

    If H-1b workers are truly more highly skilled and productive, then they should be paid MORE than the American workers they replace because the corporation’s bottom line will still be improved, though not as extremely, by being extremely unfair to Americans citizens who want to remain in their own country.

    H-1b workers should be allowed to compete based on their ability, not on a race-to-the-bottom competition for accepting lower wages.

    (Excuse my reasoned approach to an unreasoning murderous system that has no excuse for existing that should be recognized by a free people.)

    • though not as extremely, as by being extremely unfair to Americans citizens who want to remain in their own country.

    • If we really want to stimulate the economy, we should outsource CEO jobs. We don’t need to pay some privileged jerkaholic an eight-figure salary, we can hire someone from bumfukistan to do it for a dollar a day.

      • Agreed.

        I’m busy this afternoon so perhaps we could begin on the morrow.

        I understand that that there once was a tradition that a new king would be sworn in with the ax that beheaded a previous king lain beside his shoulder.

        Of course this was in a past where people were less bound by the modern myth that their rulers were somehow too sacred to be subjected to rule by the people.

  • I will soon be 74 years of age. The “wetbacks” have been a problem since I was old enough to go to school with some of them.

    The problem, dear Friends, is not with illegal immigrants. It is with the exploitation of them by immoral employers.


  • The children are victims. Their parents are economic migrants who made a conscientious decision to enter the US illegally, bypassing the millions who are waiting patiently in line to enter the country legally. Why should they get a pass simply because they got away with it for years, while doing far better economically than they could have done in their own countries?

  • […] immigrants both legal (e.g. the much-abused H1B visa program) and undocumented. Illegals are powerless and scared.

    Curious mix of language/frames… language abuse is seeping into even the left?

    Let’s remember that illegal immigrant puts the illegal qualifier to the person themselves. Which is just weird. Illegal thief, robber, fraudster? Nobody would say that – even though those would be actual criminal activities in the narrow sense.

    Also, for those who overstay visas, the act of immigration was actually within the confines of the law.

    Therefore undocumented is both more descriptive and accurate, and keeps the focus squarely on the problem: the person in question cannot produce the piece of paper required to have the right to exist in a particular set of latitude and longitude co-ordinates. Hence nature in her wisdom decreed that it is necessary for them to live in fear of being jumped at by armed goons.

    As a nation of immigrants, North Americans may at least be tempted to empathize with the undocumented condition.

    Once the notion of lawlessness is raised, however, empathy leaves the room to watch Daredevil beat the shit out of people, and so authorities can safely detain, deport, (and disenfranchise those who actually hold said pieces of paper) with abandon.

    And the article documents that being undocumented is actually negatively linked to criminality.

    • nice catch, andreas5.

      Moreover, lost in this debate is the fact that H1-B employees are not immigrants – they are LEGAL, temporary, foreign workers. Many of the people under scrutiny are migrant farm workers whose grandparents were officially welcomed into the US during WWII. They’ve been a part of our agricultural scene ever since.

      Today, farmers are already complaining that they can’t hire the migrant workers because they’re been scared off. (as intended)

    • WHAhahahahahahahahahahahhaha…..

    • From the article to which you linked, min verehrter Lehrer :«H-2A workers and U.S. workers in corresponding employment must be paid a certain rate — $10.72 an hour for vineyard farm workers in Virginia this year». It would seem that Eric Frederick Trump, with that generosity that so marks the clan, is nearly bankrupting himself to give those workers a living wage….


      • It seems that somebody missed the point.
        It isn’t difficult at all to obtain documentation to reside in Mexico legally. My wife & I have been here over 10 years — legally. We have cards that identify us as permanent residents, we both have CURP cards, and I have a Mexican driver’s license.
        Additionally, we are signed up for the free medical care that is available through the Mexican government.
        On the other hand, we have been working with a Mexican family for five years, trying to get the male head of household legally admitted to the United States, even though his wife and children are all citizens of the U.S. With the barriers that U.S. immigration continues to place in their way, it’s no wonder that some choose to enter the country illegally.

    • Mexico actually has a far stricter immigration policy than the US. The mere act of entering the country without documentation is a felony and those caught (primarily entering from Central America on their way to the US) are usually deported the same day.

    • How many of those “illegally” residing American migrants are sucking off the fat of Mexico’s expansive social welfare network?

      The vast majority are snowbirds/retirees who’re (less-expensively) spending their retirement accounts in the Mexican economy. Mexico would be really stupid to kick them out.


      • «How many of those “illegally” residing American migrants are sucking off the fat of Mexico’s expansive social welfare network?» Your comment above seems to imply two things, DanD – 1) that those US citizens residing in Mexico without having received official permission to do so are, unlike their Mexican counterparts in the USA, not really «illegal», thereof the scare quotes. and 2) that the USA has an expansive social welfare network. Looks like you’re of an age to have preferred bongs to cat videos….


      • In Mexico, it’s not too different than how it is (well, was, as I’ve been away for more than a decade) in the RP. All you have to know is who to bribe. You pay that local “tax.” From there? It’ll all be fixed up if anybody complains. Money greases everything. Mexico does treat destitute Gringos like shit.

        And yes, the United States (still) does have a much more expansive (and comparatively eglitarian) social network than does virtually all other South-of-the-Border countries in the Americas, though it is getting bankrupted in a very major way by the anchor-baby class mostly coming from south of the border.


  • This is part of the language problem. Since when does a trespassing invader get the presumptive right to officially describe him/herself as an “immigrant?” I always thought it was that “they” (INS) give you some documents, the filled-out documents are then vetted, then they give you some more documents establishing whether or not you (as a migrating individual) have been conferred with the at least status of conditional immigrant. Now, if you get established as an immigrant, but then violate the terms of your immigration contract, then you become an illegal immigrant.

    Contrawise, while there may be (true) immigrants who are — for some extenuating (or not) circumstance — not possessing their already accomplished documentation, there ain’t no such fucking animal as an undocumented immigrant. If it’s some handjob claiming to be an undocumented immigrant, then it’s really just an invader (economic/militaristic/terrorist) who should be (hyperbole altert!) prospectively slaughtered and then fed to a pig herd.

    There are a whole shitload of criminal invaders hiding among America’s illegal migrant population.


    • «If it’s some handjob claiming to be an undocumented immigrant, then it’s really just an invader (economic/militaristic/terrorist) who should be (hyperbole altert!) prospectively slaughtered and then fed to a pig herd. There are a whole shitload of criminal invaders hiding among America’s illegal migrant population.» Interesting use of language there, DanD – just for laughs, how would you describe those «boots on the ground» that successive US governments have been pleased to send to other countries, without invitations by the governments concerned (not to worry, here in Sweden you’ll always get an invitation – the northern half of the country is already used by your military as a bombing range….)


      • How do I describe them (us veteran-types)? “Corporately selected, Banker-Wars” fodder. Right now, the global corporate masters of WDC continues to import an established, criminal migrant class across the major southern (and western sea) border(s) of the United States in order to construct a racist-oriented “snitch” culture. The people who are wetbacking it now KNOW that they’re breaking the law, but they’re doing it anyway for their own dreamland expansion of third-world Hispano-cultural leibensruam. Many of them want to make Southwestern America Mexico again. I know this because I live among alot of those motherfuckers here in LA County, and they can hardly wait until they’ve anchor-babied themselves into a voting majority. THAT is the political goal of their true-believer leaders.

        I applaud IMMIGRANTS. They want to become Americans, and want to conform to (what’s left of) American culture. They are the ones who were chosen to IMMIGRATE and follow the rules. But for all predisposed invaders who prefer the wetback and Coyote shortcut? I really do want to see them bombed into hamburger meat. Killed as quickly and painlessly as possible. We (our shattered society) are also fighting a globalist agenda, and I think it’s already lost … at least for the next several generations. Ultimately? If we don’t break their eggs, they sure-as-shit are going to finish breaking ours. This is my own particular Sampson-Option. I’d rather scorched-earth deny Constitutional America to the invaders. Fuck them to death before they fuck us into 3rd-world fascism first.

        I’m a U.S. nationalist, something that’s not taught in school anymore.


      • > I really do want to see them bombed into hamburger meat.

        Really? I don’t suppose you live in a stand-your-ground state? In which case you just gave every human-who-has-illegally-entered-the-country carte blanche to shoot you on sight.

        The biggest effect such an act would have would be to improve the quality of discourse on this site.

        > I’m a U.S. nationalist, something that’s not taught in school anymore.

        I’m pretty sure that your idea of nationalism was last taught in Germany, ca 1932…