In an extremely dubious bit of cheerleading for our increasingly anti-immigrant police state, MSNBC dropped its Tuesday morning viewers smack into the middle of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency “roundup.”
“We are waiting for a target to come out of his home. And enforcement removal operations officers, agents, are going to swoop in and they are going to arrest him,” reporter Gadi Schwartz told anchor Hallie Jackson at the top of the segment, which was first highlighted by Raw Story. “We’ve seen two of those happen so far today.”
Schwartz’s Tuesday morning ride just outside Los Angeles comes as arrests of undocumented immigrants—both those with criminal records, and without—have spiked across the United States in the opening months of President Donald Trump’s administration.
David Marin, the immigration official with whom Schwartz is paired (identified by ICE in its 2016 Year in Review as the “Deputy Field Office Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in LA”) explained that the subject of the current stake-out was a “serious” criminal with a history of suspected crimes dating back several years.
Schwartz then teed up a softball about ICE’s history of requesting “detainers” from local law enforcement agencies, in which jails hold undocumented immigrants for longer than their mandated sentence in order to be apprehended by immigration authorities.
“It’s difficult for you guys here in California to get detainers to go into jails and apprehend some of these people that have been in the criminal justice system,” he noted fawningly.
“We would rather be inside the jails taking custody of these criminal aliens. That’s the best place. That’s the safest place,” Marin said. “But here in California there’s been some roadblocks placed in front of us. But that’s not gonna stop us from doing our job.”
Marin went on to insist that under the Trump administration, the “spectrum” of “criminal aliens” ICE now focuses on has widened, even if the prevailing laws under which the agency operates have remained the same.
Earlier this year, Marin was the recipient of a strongly worded letter by LA area officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, asking that ICE agents refrain from identifying themselves as simply “police.”
Schwartz’s televised segment ended before he and Marin could complete their intended arrest.