In another sad, but predictable display of government fear-mongering and manipulation, the Bush Administration again deployed heavily-armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in several U.S. states. More than 375 people were arrested in 8 states during the largest raids in several months, according to this report in USA Today.
As was the Bush Administration’s habit prior to major mobilizations like those of 2006, the current raids communicate multiple messages to multiple audiences. The primary message to the undocumented community is “Don’t march. Watch out.”; The raids also provide red meat to the rabid Republican (and many Democrat) anti-migrant among us. As I’ve written here previously, the raids also serve to help the state bolster and normalize the militarization of the “homeland”, the country within the borders. Wouldn’t you do the same thing if faced with the catastrophic failure of the “American Dream”.
As you watch the frequency of these raids increase, have no doubt about this: they will continue far and beyond the elections and will continue regardless of which candidate (yes, even Barack Obama), which party prevails in November. In what is starting to feel like mathematical precision, predictability the raids are occurring as if in inverse proportional to the degree of economic – and political (think how the 2000 and 2004 elections broke the system) decline. History teaches us that countries, empires in decline need wars foreign and domestic in order to reinforce the idea that they are legitimate and real. So, it’s not just politicos using migrants to appear like they’re doing something; It’s the unholy alliance of interests sitting atop this Titanic ship of state.