In light of the 2020 election cycle, also known as the latest Stephen King novel, I have noticed a sharp increase in the political content sprinkled between @Nihilist_Arbys tweets and Harry Styles updates.
One trend that caught my eye was Twitter users sharing what radicalized them.
This led me to look back on my own ideals, and the moment that I became a bleeding heart, bra-burning, socialist that does yoga and wants to defund the police. Was it learning about the wage gap? Being the daughter of an immigrant? The 2016 election? And then it hit me–it was the first time I watched the cult classic, “Clueless.”
When Cher Horowitz stuck her gum on the podium and asserted her stance on immigration policy, I was forever changed.
This may sound silly, but I firmly believe that “Clueless” performed the invaluable task of radicalizing me, while teaching me how to style a plaid skirt, all in a 100 minute timespan.
For those who weren’t radicalized by “Clueless,” let’s break down Immigrant and Customs Enforcement’s origins and dive into how the Trump administration has weaponized it.
According to The Guardian, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly referred to as ICE, was created in 2003 by the George W. Bush administration. This was a response to the events of 9/11, and America’s cry for a stricter forgein policy.
Nearly two decades later, we are reaping the consequences of this decision. The call to address the “immagration issue,”is in its essence, xenophobic. Immigration is not an issue, and referring to it as such is absolutely contradictory to America’s values.
America: Land of the Free, but not for women or minorities!
Fast forward to 2016 and Trump’s campaign filled with promises for a greater America, a national debate sparked regarding how the United States should address immigration going forward. In Trump’s never ending pursuit of a greater America, he had promised to “drain the swamp” and “build a wall,” and has completely weaponized ICE.
Trump’s statements over his first term and refusal to denounce white supremacists at the first 2020 presidential debate has solidified his behavior and sent the message that he is unaffected by the lives lost and unconstitutional acts happening at the hands of his administration.
He cloaked his xenophobia and racism in patriotic rhetoric, promising national security for the greater good. Since his election into office, over 5,400 children had been separated from their parents at the U.S. and Mexico border. Heinous reports of sexual assault, malnutrition and poor living conditions drove the ACLU to file a federal lawsuit.
In the beginning of September, a former ICE employee reported that an ICE facility in Georgia had performed as many as eighteen hysterectomies. Dawn Wooten, a whistleblower and once a nurse at an ICE detention center stated of the hysterectomies and the women who were the victims of alleged medical misconduct, “Everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.” The implication that these facilities are sterilizing these women without consent is inhumane, sadistic and absolutely unconstitutional.
I don’t think it’s a super hot take to say that ICE shouldn’t be performing non-consensual hysterectomies.
I don’t say this as a leftist, Latina or journalist, but as a human being with empathy and moral sense. The only proper response to these atrocities is to abolish ICE. Point blank, period. It’s not a radical idea. ICE is younger than the iPhone.
We have operated without it before and we can, and will, operate without it again. The fact that such an abomination has occurred under a federal agency is antithetical to the point of the system in and of itself, but not shocking considering the fact that this year has played out like a season of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Now the question is, how can we go about abolishing ice?
Surprise, surprise. You have to vote. The only way we will dismantle this corrupt, cruel system is to vote in legislators who will advocate for humane policies and actively work to correct this abusive agency. Next, we need to contact our local and state representatives and make our voices heard. Signing petitions and acting as vocal opponents is the only way to incite change. You can also donate to organizations like the ACLU, Kids In Need of Defense, and Texas Civil Rights Project that have all been actively working to reunite families that have been separated at the border and have been providing services to children and families in need.
It is our duty, as empathetic beings to advocate for those actively being oppressed by our government and fight for change. After all, Cher Horowitz said it best, “It does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty.”