In 2012, two young activists from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance went on an undercover mission to infiltrate the Broward Transitional Center, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Florida. NIYA had been contacted by the son of a man named Claudio Rojas, who was taken from his home by immigration agents and brought to Broward. NIYA has been compared to ACT UP; its members try to force confrontations with authorities over immigration policy. The two activists, who are themselves undocumented, pretended to be newly arrived, confused immigrants who spoke little English. They got themselves arrested by somewhat perplexed Border Patrol agents.
The story of those activists is told in a new film called “The Infiltrators,” which recently showed at the Sundance Festival and South by Southwest. It is a kind of quasi-documentary, the directors Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera tell David Remnick; because they were not able to film inside the ICE facility, they staged a reënactment of the events inside a decommissioned mental hospital. Rojas, who had been released from detention after staging a hunger strike, advised the production for verisimilitude. But after the movie’s release, Rojas was suddenly re-detained during a routine check-in with ICE, which he attended with his lawyer. “ For eight years I presented myself for supervision visits,” Rojas tells The New Yorker’s Camila Osorio, speaking on the phone from detention. “ Why didn’t they detain me before? . . . I am completely sure that this is a reprisal against me, that they want to deport me no matter what.”
Note: In regard to Rojas’s suspicion of retaliation on the part of ICE, a spokesman for the agency sent this statement after the story went to air: “ICE detains individuals according to federal law and makes custody decisions based upon the facts of their case. Any accusation that ICE uses retaliatory tactics is patently false.”
Theresa May’s Brexit Saga Continues, with No End in Sight
This week, a series of votes in the British House of Commons introduced a new chapter in the Brexit story and pushed parliamentary procedures to a breaking point. After Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan was joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how May continues to survive, and whether she might yet prevail.
Jane Mayer on the Revolving Door Between Fox News and the White House
Donald Trump has made no secret of his great admiration for Fox News—he tweets praise of it constantly—and his disdain for other, “fake news” outlets, which he regards as “enemies of the people.” But the closeness between Fox News and the White House is unprecedented in modern times, , Mayer, a staff writer since 1995, analyzes a symbiotic relationship that boosts both Trump’s poll numbers and Rupert Murdoch’s bottom line. “I was trying to figure out who sets the tune that everybody plays during the course of the day,” Mayer says. “If the news on Fox is all about some kind of caravan of immigrants supposedly invading America, whose idea is that? It turns out that it is this continual feedback loop.” Mayer pays particular attention to the role of Bill Shine, the former Fox News co-president and now former White House deputy chief of staff for communications. Shine resigned days after Mayer spoke to Remnick. In his tenure in the Administration, Shine helped create a revolving door through which those who craft the Administration’s political messaging and those who broadcast it regularly trade places. She also discovered that Shine was linked to the network’s practice of intimidating employees who alleged sexual harassment at work.
In an Age of Science Denialism, a Breakthrough in the Fight Against H.I.V.
This week, it was announced that a patient in the United Kingdom had been cured of H.I.V. The “London Patient” is only the second person with H.I.V. to be cured of the disease since its discovery, in 1981. The breakthrough comes weeks after President Trump announced a plan to eradicate the disease by 2030. joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how previous Administrations have addressed the AIDS crisis, and the politics of science and medicine in the Trump era—on everything from the anti-vaccine movement to climate-change denialism.
A Moderate Republican Wants to Give Donald Trump a Primary Challenge in 2020
Donald Trump boasts an approval rating among Republican voters of close to ninety per cent. But the former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld recently announced an exploratory committee to challenge Trump in the primary. It looks like a political suicide mission, but Weld sees a pathway to victory that runs through his neighboring state of New Hampshire, to other blue-leaning states where Republican voters might be open to a different candidate for the nomination. Weld is a type of Republican rarely seen at the national level these days—a New England moderate—and he’s called Trump’s Presidency a “train wreck.” He says that some “billionaires” will back his long-shot bid, and he’s betting that the damage from investigations may end Trump’s charmed political life. Weld criticizes the white-supremacist dog whistles used in Trump’s 2016 campaign, and he calls Republicans in Washington victims of Stockholm syndrome—identifying with the man who captured their party.