Unidentified Department of Homeland Security (HHS) and U.S. Marshals Service officers have been given carte-blanche to terrorize peaceful protesters and anyone simply walking down the street in Portland, Oregon.
They’re shooting peaceful protesters with rubber bullets.
— Simulation Warlord🇺🇸 (@zerosum24) July 12, 2020
Now Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is offering Chicagoans “Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Citizens Academy” to create more vigilantes to carry out the federal government’s fascist bidding.
ERO Chicago Field Office Director Robert Guadian announced:
“The academy is a natural progression from the outreach work we have already been doing with our community. This is an opportunity for the community to get to know our officers, understand our mission, and see firsthand how the agency enforces the federal immigration laws enacted by Congress.”
According to an ICE press release:
“The curriculum will include, but is not limited to, classroom instruction, visiting an immigration detention center, learning more about the health care ICE provides to those in its custody, and examining ICE’s role in ensuring dignity, respect and due process of an immigration case from start to finish.”
The agency added:
“ICE is inviting interested participants from a variety of stakeholder backgrounds including: Community groups, state/local elected leaders, Congressional staff, consular officials and business and religious leaders.”
Citizens Academy plans to offer “first of its kind scenario-based defensive tactics, firearms familiarization and targeted arrests” in a six-week program slated to begin in September that will “serve as a pilot for nationwide implementation.”
Immigrant Defense Project Deputy Director Mizue Aizeki stated:
“It is outrageous at a time when many are condemning the violence of policing and efforts to defund police are gaining momentum, that ICE would invest in training civilians to embrace and support their criminalizing and dehumanizing agenda. When ICE recruits local police to serve as immigration agents, racial profiling and civil rights abuses persist. Recruiting civilians into ICE missions is similarly problematic, threatening community safety and encouraging vigilantism.”
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) community organizer Rey Wences added:
“Trainings like this are part of strategies used by law enforcement to normalize violence and spread propaganda under the guise of improving community relations. This is a program designed to institutionalize ICE’s actions such as the use of firearms, use of violence, and questionable tactics that lead to the separation of families in Chicago and across the country. Law enforcement agencies like ICE can’t improve community relations when they are part of the problem, they need to be dismantled.”
Garcia stated on Facebook:
“I should not be learning about this on social media and I resent that. The first thing I thought was, ‘is this a prank or fake news, or what is this?’ This program would encourage people to act as vigilantes and racially profile community members. Not hard to think how this can lead to attacks and violence against immigrants and undocumented people.”
He added the ICE course appeared to be “inviting people to become an extension of ICE… to possibly surveil their neighbors who might be undocumented.”
In fact, in an online letter published by The St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA), ICE Field Office Director Robert Guadian appeared to do just that, announcing:
“You have been identified as a valued member of the community who may have interest in participating in the inaugural class of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago Citizens Academy.”
Chicago’s 33rd Ward Alderman Rossana Rodriguez added:
“ICE is constantly updating their approach to terrorizing our communities and tearing families apart but this is a new low. In this community we protect each other. In this community we look out for the collective well-being of our neighborhoods.”
We’ve seen this movie before.
By 1921, about 400,000 German men were paramilitary group members.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
“The SA was to provide military protection for the party, while also advancing Nazi ideology. In August 1921, the party’s newspaper, Der Völkische Beobachter, published an open call for young men to join the SA, imploring men to join the fight against ‘foreign races’ bent on destroying Germany.
Couple this with the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), the Customs and Border Patrol’s equivalent of a SWAT team, tasked with assisting ICE agents in routine immigration arrests, and state-sanctioned paramilitary forces roughing up people in the streets for daring to exercise their constitutional right to peaceably assemble to redress their grievances, we’ve got the makings of a tin-pot police state that, were it happening in any other country, we’d be shaking our heads and thanking our lucky stars it isn’t us.
Well, it’s us.