Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been violating the U.S. Constitution and federal law with impunity largely because the Biden administration remains silent in the face of atrocity. Despite all the efforts to get the White House to act, asylum-seekers are now facing constant harassment at the hands of residents with a sordid history of racism and bigotry in New York City.
As with the U.S.-Mexico border, the administration failed to act in stopping Gov. Abbott leading to several deaths directly caused by the Texas governor’s policies. Meanwhile, those who were outraged when former president Donald Trump implemented inhumane policies will tell you that Biden is not “as bad” as Trump. Truth is, there isn’t much difference. Yes, President Biden has done much for some asylum seekers. But for others, the only difference is Title 42 was lifted.
Demanding action from the White House isn’t easy considering how much information is fed to a president every morning. That difficulty is expressed often by members of Congress. When someone like Joaquin Castro, for example, writes a letter demanding action from President Biden and 87 other Democrats sign it, the White House only typically acts if there’s a media frenzy that follows.
When we write articles explaining the illegality of what Gov. Abbott is doing, it’s also tough to make an impact without support from the public. For the record, there are few of us challenging the White House to act in Texas. Yet, the support from people who voted for him isn’t there largely because like President Biden’s advisors, they seem to be afraid of potentially losing an election to a fascist. This suggests that winning is more important than human rights.
Meanwhile, the further you let people like Gov. Abbott go, the further they will take it. Atrocity after atrocity, President Biden is being advised to “not touch” the border, according to an anonymous source. This makes it seem as though his advisors are still more concerned with courting conservatives who hate immigrants from the Global South than they are about U.S. law, international law, and basic humanity. This is an alarming trend showing the incremental nature of how people begin to accept cruelty toward asylum-seekers.
It’s been happening since former president Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) and former president George W. Bush made seeking asylum a national security issue. Former President Bush then created the Department of Homeland Security and began ramping up Latinophobic rhetoric alongside Islamophobic language and using terrorism as justification for militarizing the U.S.-Mexico Border.
The absurdity of what U.S. voters accept becomes more atrocious every year.
New York City
Enter Curtis Sliwa and his so-called “Guardian Angles” street gang. Sliwa normalized the kind of vigilantism that’s more criminal than those he rats out to police. He was even caught staging crimes in an effort to continue receiving the donations he lives off of. Now, his rhetoric is leading people to provoke and harass migrants who are forced to live on the street because of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s inhumane approach. Yet they’re targeting NYC Mayor Eric Adams.
An article in the New York Times from 1992 reports that Sliwa admitted to faking many of the group’s crime-fighting activities. The article highlighted members of the Guardian Angels who said the issue was much bigger than Sliwa claimed. In my experience with them on the streets of New York City in the 1980s, their members were mostly provocative so they could report us to the police. They weren’t just trying to provoke us into doing something verbally. They were very confrontational which is why so many anti-racists at the time considered them a hate group.
That Sliwa recruited some Black people and Latinos was similar to what the Proud Boys do to argue they aren’t racist. Yet, we all know they are. For the Guardian Angels, all they had to do was convince some locals that their neighborhood needed a vigilante-styled crime watch. Truth is, they were all just pawns used to disguise his bigotry. There is no further proof needed than what he’s doing in NYC today. He’s using all the same tactics as he has before.
Except this time, he’s targeting migrants, the Black NYC Mayor, and pro-immigrant/anti-racist groups. Neither he nor his cronies condemned the white man in Texas or the white man in Florida for creating the situation in New York City. They don’t talk about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sending asylum-seekers to the city without coordinating with the New York governor, New York City’s mayor, or immigrant rights groups. He didn’t coordinate with the White House either.
And it was intentional.
Yet, migrants, a woman governor, and a Black mayor are who Sliwa and his cronies blame – as is the media for not countering their actions with facts. Previously, I reported how the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell allowed people to make declarations that were untrue and harmful to the immigrant community. Particularly, in New York City. They didn’t clarify or rebut the lies they allowed on their program that had millions of viewers. It’s the kind of irresponsible reporting that leads us to where we are.
Now, NBC News is getting in on the misinformation. While they post videos on TikTok talking about the “crisis” in New York City, like Sliwa’s cronies, they leave out the part where the Biden administration allocated hundred-of-millions of dollars so far this year to help cities house and care for the asylum-seekers being sent there by racists in the southern U.S. Those same racists argue “millions” of migrants are entering the United States but that is also factually untrue. They lie because they can get away with it and they’re all driven by money and power.
Pretty convenient, no?
Always Blaming Immigrants
Like racists across the country, Sliwa and others like him are blaming migrants for everything that ails their communities. There are videos of people committing the same crimes that have always occurred in NYC yet the person making the posts blames Venezuelans without ever confirming whether the person was even an immigrant. There are posts and videos like this all over social media and it’s a clearly concerted effort to frame a narrative and push it in the news cycle.
There are also claims that asylum-seekers without work permits are working for Uber Eats and making money on stolen scooters. But even places like food delivery services that consider you a contractor can’t let you work without filling out the proper paperwork (1099). Once you make $599 they have to report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But they frame things like this because we all know how easily people fall for it. No conservative is going to make any effort to verify anything because it fits their narrative.
It also brings attention to how rhetoric like this leads to hate crimes. We saw terrorist attacks in the name of former president Trump while quoting his language in terrorist manifestos and we saw how a recent terrorist attack is linked to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s anti-Black, anti-woke rhetoric. It’s only a matter of time before a neo-Nazi or blatant racist does the same thing as they follow Sliwa’s lead to migrants forced to sleep on the streets thanks to racist Texas politics.
We all know the dog whistles and Sliwa and his cronies are gleefully using them. He, like so many others, understands that hate is a big business. We all know how much of a camera hog and how much of a clout-chaser he is. His appeal, however, only fits one demographic. And let’s just say, the Ku Klux Klan would love him because of how much access he’s been given among non-white groups throughout the years.
This is where our focus must be. On the people in power.
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