The Panic: On the Brazilians Who Died in U.S. Government Custody

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(Picture from Register Hardware)

This excerpt is from an email sent by Roy Beck to supporters of his anti-migrant organization, Numbers USA.

The panic has spread to your town or city - all across America.

It is most important that all of us contribute to that panic and ensure that it continues. For it is that kind of panic that will eventually lead to millions of illegal foreign workers and dependents going back to their home countries. (emphasis mine)

Even though it has well-documented ties to white supremacy, Numbers USA isn't a fringe organization. Its been credited by the New York Times for playing a major role in the defeat of comprehensive immigration reform. Here you have the leader of a very prominent anti-migrant organization encouraging the spread of "panic".

Panic - A sudden, overpowering terror, often affecting many people at once.
I bring this to light because I was recently criticized for making the connection between the death of Maxsuel Medeiros on September 11th, and the terror that millions of migrants are living with in the United States.

Normally, criticism doesn't bother me. This time, however, the criticism came from respected friends, as well. I think Roy Beck's statement above proves not only that this terror exists, but also that prominent anti-migrant advocates are encouraging it.

It is also important to state that if my initial claims weren't wrong, I probably should have worded them differently. It's very difficult to prove that someone actually died specifically from terror, and I shouldn't have written it that way. I have never pretended to be right all the time, and I enjoy growing along with my readers and pro-migrant friends. This is a case where I should explicitly state that the wording of my post was wrong.

For those of you that haven't heard, it appears that Maxsuel Medeiros, a migrant who died in State Police custody, and Edimar De Araujo, both had cocaine in their systems when they died. The Boston Globe published a report shortly after the death of Medeiros, and the Rhode Island Medical Examiner, Thomas Gilson, concluded that De Araujo died from a lethal drug combination. Karen Lee Ziner's relentless reporting on De Araujo continues to be amazing.

That being said, I feel like the place in my heart that my post came from was right. I still stand behind this statement.

Medeiros represents the millions suffering from ubiquitous migrant terror in the U.S.
While I might not be able to prove that Medeiros and De Araujo died specifically from terror, I do think their cases represent the larger terror that millions of migrants suffer through in the U.S. everyday.

With Medeiros, the Massachusetts State Police could have done a much better job of communicating with migrant communities to prevent the spread of a panic. I'm also almost certain that if Medeiros had known his rights he would not have been picked up by the State Police.

With De Araujo, some questions still remain unanswered. Karen Lee Ziner reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement might not have followed a procedure that could have saved De Araujo's life. I reported on it in the last post.

Either way, both of them were performing the everyday task of riding in a car one moment, and they were dead the next. This represents a real fear for every migrant in the U.S. At any moment their lives can be changed forever for arbitrary, everyday, reasons. It's happening right under the noses of progressives that don't care, and anti-migrant advocates are actively encouraging this terror.

It's the fact that you can get detained for riding in a car, for opening the door when it's your constitutional right to keep it closed, for picking up your children at school, for going to work, that makes the death of De Araujo and Medeiros so horrible. I don't think anything encapsulates this better than this quote from De Araujo's sister:

Yesterday, I was wondering how I was going to tell my mother Edmar was going to be deported. Now, I don't know how I am going to tell her Edmar is dead.
Blogs like Anchor Rising can take potshots at pro-migrant advocates all they want, but they're on the wrong side of justice.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on September 25, 2007 3:51 PM.

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