Quick Takes: Deportation Force Goes to Work

* While we’ve all been focused on Trump’s immigration ban and how it fared in the 9th Circuit yesterday, the deportation force is going to work. Here’s the report from the Los Angeles area:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained scores of immigrants across the Los Angeles area in a massive deportation operation on Thursday, following President Donald Trump’s harsh executive order stepping up the crackdown of immigrants with criminal offenses living in the country illegally.

Advocates and lawyers said that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations agents detained 134 immigrants at their workplaces and homes in a series of raids. They said that some people were picked up as “collateral arrest” after they opened their doors to agents who were not there to specifically arrest them. ICE agents allegedly requested to see identification from everyone and took in family members who were undocumented.

The immigration sweeps are believed to have taken place across Southern California in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, San Bernardino, and Downey.

Update: Here’s more from the Washington Post:

U.S. immigration authorities launched a series of raids, traffic stops and checkpoints in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.

The raids, which appeared to target scores of undocumented immigrants, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

It also appeared to signal a departure from the Obama administration’s prioritized immigration enforcement against criminals. Trump has pledged to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

* At the swearing in for Jeff Sessions yesterday, Trump signed three executive orders related to crime and law enforcement. All three involved committees/studies to be conducted by DOJ and that is why Tess Owen reports that they are “nothing more than symbolic crime control rhetoric.” But as Ta-Nehisi Coates reminded us, it all starts with rhetoric.

Nixon’s war on crime was more rhetoric than substance. “I was cranking out that bullshit on Nixon’s crime policy before he was elected,” wrote White House counsel John Dean , in his memoir of his time in the administration. “And it was bullshit, too. We knew it.”…Describing the Nixon campaign’s strategy for assembling enough votes to win the 1972 election, Nixon’s aide John Ehrlichman later wrote, “We’ll go after the racists … That subliminal appeal to the antiblack voter was always in Nixon’s statements and speeches on schools and housing.” According to H. R. Haldeman, another Nixon aide, the president believed that when it came to welfare, the “whole problem [was] really the blacks.” Of course, the civil-rights movement had made it unacceptable to say this directly. “The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to,” Haldeman wrote in his diary. But there was no need to devise new systems from scratch: When Nixon proclaimed drugs “public enemy No. 1,” or declared “war against the criminal elements which increasingly threaten our cities, our homes, and our lives,” he didn’t need to name the threat. A centuries-long legacy of equating blacks with criminals and moral degenerates did the work for him.

That is EXACTLY the same rhetoric Trump and Sessions employed yesterday – except that they are now expanding the definition of “criminal” to brown bodies (i.e., terrorists and immigrants).

* Another brutal magazine cover for Trump.

* The wall Trump plans to build that Mexico won’t pay for just got a lot more expensive.

In the past 12 months, Donald Trump has put the estimated cost of his prized border wall at $8 billion, $10 billion, and $12 billion. His friends at the Capitol have been slightly less optimistic, with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guessing it would cost up to $15 billion.

Turns out, they may all be wrong. According to a leaked Department of Homeland Security report, the wall will cost $21.6 billion.

* Idaho Republicans set out to come up with a plan to replace Obamacare. You’ll never guess what happened next.

Here in Idaho, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, vowed to come up with a replacement after declining to fully embrace the Medicaid expansion that was offered as part of the Affordable Care Act. He’s tried to persuade his heavily Republican legislature to set aside their hands-off views about the government on this issue. Studies have been conducted. Proposals have been put forward. But after four years, lawmakers have come up with no alternative.

“While it is clear there is broad agreement on the fact there is a problem, agreement on what to do about it is another story,” Otter wrote in a statement to The Washington Post.

Sound familiar?

* If any Trump supporters complain about the six New England Patriots who have chosen not to go to the White House for the traditional celebration, send them this list of all the athletes over the years who have done the same thing – including one just two years ago.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady backed out of his White House celebration in 2015, citing a previously planned “family commitment.”

Except the Boston Herald had a different explanation, speculating that Brady was upset at White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who had criticized the quarterback’s PR skills in light of the Deflategate scandal.

* Finally, anyone who gets the chance to see Aretha Franklin perform in the next few months should definitely take the opportunity.

Aretha Franklin intends to drastically reduce the frequency of her performances following the release of a new full-length in the fall. “I am retiring this year,” the singer told WDIV Local 4 in Detroit. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”

In her honor, let’s start the weekend with a little something from the Queen of Soul. I’m old enough to remember that time in 1998 when Luciano Pavarotti was going to perform “Nessun Dorma” at the Grammy Awards, but was ill and had to cancel at the last minute. Aretha stepped up to the plate and brought the house down.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.