The crackdown measures on illegal immigration Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled in Noagles, Arizona Tuesday continue to draw intense reactions spanning from abject horror to welcome relief.
Professor and Washington Post contributor Daniel W. Drezner began the day by issuing a sincere apology for touching off a viral fake news scandal. Immediately after Tuesday’s announcement, Drezner tweeted that the Attorney General had described all “illegal immigrants” as “filth.” The tweet was quickly retweeted thousands of times and contributed to an outpouring of misdirected outrage at Mr. Sessions over his use of the word. In fact, as Drezner’s apology on the Washington Post website admits, Sessions had in fact been speaking about MS-13 gang members and Mexican drug cartels.
Filth. He described illegal immigrants as "filth."
Whatever your views on immigration that's f**king embarrassing for a US official to say. https://t.co/sl5x5uLObK
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) April 11, 2017
Drezner, however, was careful to note that:
Full disclosure: The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts [Drezner’s Washington Post blog] does not like Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Not one little bit.
I didn’t like him when he was the first senator to endorse Donald Trump. I didn’t like him during the campaign when he dismissed divergent views as “soulless globalism.”
Left-wing Daily Beast website moved past the verbiage of Sessions’s speech to express shock at the substance of his directives. Beast writer Betsy Woodruff characterized the efforts to secure the border by writing, “And with that Sessions officially weaponized the Justice Department to crack down on undocumented immigration.”
Woodruff’s article goes on to quote a “veteran federal prosecutor” as being outraged by the new guidelines sent to U.S. Attorney’s Offices, which demand stricter use America’s criminal immigration laws. “It’s F—ing horrifying. It’s totally horrifying and we’re all terrified about it, and we don’t know what to do,” the prosecutor told The Beast. “The things they want us to do are so horrifying—they want to do harboring cases of three or more people,” he said, upset that Session’s directive to employ the law against harboring illegal aliens, a felony, more widely could impact illegals who “bring over” their also illegal families illegally.
Fox News contributors Eboni Williams and Geraldo Rivera were also distraught at the implications of Sessions’s announcement which introduces no new law and calls only for the stricter use of immigration law already on the books. On Wednesday’s Outnumbered, Rivera referenced the same debunked claim as Drezner apologized for:
I am absolutely deeply hurt and offended by the tone of this language. This attorney general by using words like ‘filth’ to describe the undocumented immigrants coming across the southern border, it smacks of a racist tint to me that I find repulsive. I think that the whole notion that they are possibly going to charge and arrest American citizens who harbor undocumented immigrants, for God’s sake, what does that mean?
Williams quickly backed up her co-host, saying, “I’m just going to speak from my heart. Hearing it, Geraldo, it sounded a lot like fugitive slave laws to me, quite frankly.”
The America’s Voice Education Fund, a project of left-wing billionaire and open borders evangelist George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations, hit Sessions hard in a press release from its executive director Frank Sharry Tuesday. “This is the smokescreen they use to justify their efforts to deport millions, to keep people out of the country, and, ultimately, to try and remake the racial and ethnic composition of America,” the release said.
Pro-American immigration group’s reaction to the Sessions DOJ’s plans met the outrage and criticism with enthusiasm.
“We’ve been saying for a long time that there needs to be enforcement,” Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Breitbart News.
According to Mehlman, measures like charging those caught with multiple illegal entries with felonies will go far in deterring these offenses. “Changing the perceptions that people have goes a long way towards making the laws enforceable,” he said. “We’ve seen the border apprehensions plummet to their lowest level in 17 years. That’s largely based on the fact that people now believe the law has some meaning.”
Dale Wilcox, General Counsel of FAIR’s sister law firm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, focused on the potential impact of Sessions’s directives on human traffickers, telling Breitbart News:
Illegal-alien smuggling became a billion-dollar business for the Mexican cartels over the last few years, accounting for a full ten percent of their annual revenues. We have former President Obama to thank for that. His nonenforcement and amnesty policies acted like a magnet for illegal immigration as well as a giant US taxpayer-funded subsidy to the cartels. With leadership fully committed to immigration law enforcement, however, that can and will change.
For his own part, Attorney General Sessions took to the airwaves Tuesday to reiterate the message he made in his Nogales annoucement, telling Fox New’s Sean Hannity that, “The border is not open. Please don’t come. You will be apprehended if you do come, and you will be deported promptly. And if you’re a criminal, you’ll be prosecuted.”