This week, the House Judiciary Committee took their show on the road, going to Yuma, Arizona as part of their “Biden Border Crisis” series. The event was a sheriff-filled spectacular with many of the usual suspects in attendance. Sheriff Leon Wilmot testified in full military splendor, providing purely anecdotal evidence about cartels, kids transporting drugs, and “crime.”
Sheriffs are not immigration officials, nor are they experts in migration, human rights, asylum, or cartels. The choice to have two sheriffs testify thus far, and more to come, is very much a political choice to highlight the xenophobia at the heart of this enterprise — the sheriffs who have testified thus far have known links to anti-immigrant and far-right groups. The hearings are less about changing policies than justifying violence and racism against migrants and their families. Rep. Paul Gosar put his finger on the guiding Great Replacement Theory when he said, “Migrants are changing our culture.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced an investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office with a focus on jail deaths and use-of-force incidents.
A Colorado sheriff’s deputy shot a man point-blank in the chest because he felt like it. The family is suing.
A man froze to death in an Alabama jail.
A Colorado judge held that the sheriff of Teller County could continue to jail migrants under the 287(g) program.
Political scientists Mirya Holman and Emily Farris published a short article on the correlation between sheriffs who “ignored” mask mandates and who expressed far-right views. An interesting note in the article pointed out that there was no correlation between the self-expression of far-right sympathies — the study relies on survey data from sheriffs who chose to participate — and the release of people from jail during COVID. This seems to suggest that, as I argue, the far-right leanings of many sheriffs are actually a feature, not a bug, in the system. An additional query I have is the lack of discussion of law enforcement who did arrest people for violating public health orders. In New York City, for example, the very small sheriff’s office had a pretty large amount of money they used to harass and arrest Black and Brown people.
The Illinois sheriffs are meeting next week in a show of solidarity opposing recent legislative changes to the possession and purchase of some assault-style guns. Evidence suggests that the CSPOA and Richard Mack — with the help of local anti-vaxxers — used the state sheriff association to recruit county sheriffs to the cause. The event is not open to the public — unless you are willing to pony up a $1,000 donation.
Isaac Simonelli wrote for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting about the white supremacist and far-right cast of characters that are frequent fliers at CSPOA events and trainings.
Something that brought me delight: Lizzo playing a cookie flute on Sesame Street.
It would be enlightening to have a complete explanation of the military uniform that Sheriff Leon Wilmot was wearing and its decorations. What do the four yellow stripes on his sleeve represent? Ditto for the six yellow rectangles on his left sleeve. The three rows of medal ribbons: what are they and when did he win them? Do sheriffs take part in military campaigns?
Can we have a functional definition of "far-right," please? Not an intersectional definition. What do "far-right" people actually *do,* which "far-right" people *do* those things, and where can you compromise on them?
As a dude who has been involved, at various removes, with both ends of the horseshoe, I would like some common-sense common sense applied to the American project, and to my mind that starts with defining your terms. To whom are you referring?