June 23, 2022
By Dale Wilcox
“Too much public discourse today is sullied by ad hominem rhetoric, that is, attempts to discredit an argument not by proving that it is unsound but by attacking the character or motives of the argument’s proponents.”—Justice Samuel Alito, Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S. Ct. 1390, 1426 (2020)
The problem with fundamentally transforming a great, freedom-loving nation into something else is that not everyone is in favor of the idea. Building support for your position with a better argument than your detractors can be a slow, frustrating process.
The faster, more Machiavellian route is to declare your critics to be enemies of the state, deserving of both marginalization from decent society and denial of their basic rights as citizens.
In its goal to make America more amenable to a ubiquitous, Big Brother-like federal government and its corresponding illiberal policies, the current occupants of White House and its tentacle agencies have borrowed the tactics of some of history’s most oppressive despots. The result will be a chilling effect on free speech and the airing of legitimate grievances against our government.
In its recent National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that “some domestic violent extremists have expressed grievances related to their perception that the U.S. government is unwilling or unable to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and have called for violence to stem the flow of undocumented migrants to the United States.
“We assess,” the bulletin continued, “that there is increased risk of domestic violent extremists using changes in border security-related policies and/or enforcement mechanisms to justify violence against individuals, such as minorities and law enforcement officials involved in the enforcement of border security.”
To the untrained ear, this may sound like a government giving justifiable warning to the public about emerging threats. In reality, it is the work of overzealous, hyper-partisan ruling class politicians seeking to eliminate reasonable dissent against their agenda. In a time when we routinely hear about “threats to our democracy,” this behavior by our leaders is the real thing.
For all the warnings from our federal government about domestic violent extremists, we have seen scant evidence of them, particularly as it relates to border policies. Who are these violent extremists? If the threat is as real as we are told, the government should have volumes of evidence. Yet all we get is rhetoric backed up with little else.
A peek behind the Great and Powerful Oz’s curtain will reveal the true purpose of this warning. The Biden Administration knows that its policies at the border have created a colossal humanitarian crisis that has angered many Americans. This has put Biden and his allies on their heels and in extreme danger of losing political power in the near future.
By linking opponents of the current border policies to “domestic violent extremists,” the White House can now weaponize its federal security agencies to target those critics for harassment and persecution. The tactic has already been used on other occasions, such as when Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate alleged threats made by parents at school board officials. The purpose was not to catch any domestic extremists, but to intimidate parents into submission.
It is not hard to see how this DHS memo will result in purposeful mission creep and a further erosion of free speech. Much like the Southern Poverty Law Center does with its incredibly reckless and violence-inspiring “hate map,” the government can simply declare any individual or group critical of the administration’s border policies to be guilty of extremism, and henceforth targeted for destruction. This is a serious threat to the First Amendment rights of all Americans.
It is also a perfect scenario for the vaunted legal groups that have traditionally defended our rights against oppressive government policies to enter the fray. Alas, the American Civil Liberties Union and similar groups appear to be uninterested in this threat to Americans’ rights. They have been co-opted by partisan politics and apparently joined forces with the very government from which they were formed to protect us against.
While it is busy generating agitprop about how our nation is awash in violent domestic extremists, our government appears to have little concern about actual terror threats who are crossing our borders with regularity.
Among many such incidents, Border Patrol agents apprehended 11 Iranian nationals found illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico in February of last year. Panama reportedly stopped 52 people en route to the United States who are on terrorist watch lists and associated with al-Qaeda.
While these threats were neutralized, we know nothing of the thousands of foreign nationals who successfully entered the U.S. illegally, commonly known as “gotaways.” Why isn’t our government focused like a laser on this very real threat to our nation, instead of targeting U.S. citizens who dare criticize government policy?
Make no mistake, there are threats to the safety and security of our nation. This White House and its appendages need to focus on legitimate threats to the republic, not those that merely threaten their own tenuous grip on power.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at American Thinker, June 23, 2022
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