Posts Tagged ‘Kamala Harris’

SPLC Attacks Joe Biden

February 24, 2021

Just two months after taking office, President Joe Biden finds himself the target of righteous anger from his voter base for his recent decision to reopen two detention centers built by the Obama administration to house unaccompanied immigrant children. Sensing an opportunity to peddle some fresh outrage to its donor base, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a breathless press release on February 23 condemning both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris by name. The wording of the release is interesting, both for what it says and what it does not.

In a blaring, all-caps headline, the SPLC writes: “SPLC: REOPENING OF MIGRANT CHILD PRISONS MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE AND UNNECESSARY.” The opening line states that “The Biden-Harris administration is reportedly planning to reopen the Homestead detention center to detain unaccompanied migrant children.”

Note the curious use of the phrase “Biden-Harris administration,” something we’ve never seen before and a pairing the SPLC has never made with previous administrations. Since when do vice-presidents get their own “administrations”? The release repeats the phrase three times.

Also note the use of the terms “prisons” and “detention center” for a facility the Obama administration (or was it the Obama-Biden administration?) named the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children. The SPLC didn’t see fit to refer to it by any name when Obama was running it, and they seem to have avoided the “Kids in Cages” trope under Trump, though they have used the term “caged” on many occasions to describe the detention of adult illegal aliens.

The Biden administration claims that the shelters are indeed temporary, just as Obama and Trump did, but many Progressives aren’t buying it. They quite rightly see the hypocrisy inherent in the decision. Since Biden and the SPLC share many of the same donors the company has a built-in market for its outrage product.

The piece offers one other linguistic sidestep when it refers to “… the failed model of child detention of the pre-Trump era…” They cannot even bring themselves to give credit where due to the Obama administration for creating the shelter system in the first place.

As to the “unnecessary” aspect of the plan, blared out in the headline, the author of the press release, who we’ll address below, states: “There are community-based, humane alternatives to detention such as NGOs, nonprofits and community sponsors that are ready to safely care for migrant children from the safety of homes.These options are safer and less traumatizing and will end our reliance on profit-driven private detention corporations.”

The author seems to believe that scattering the children over hundreds of foster homes is preferable to keeping them in one or two locations, where their parents could theoretically locate them should they ever wish to reclaim them in the future.

It also implies that these organizations and individuals would willingly shoulder the cost of feeding, clothing and housing these hundreds of teenagers with no compensation from the government. It’s not an impossible dream, just highly unlikely, though there is one player that could easily take up the challenge and never feel the financial bite in the least.

According to its 2019 IRS Form 990 tax form (2020’s is due out any week now) the SPLC had more than half a billion dollars in cash on hand, 98% of which is designated as “unrestricted” in use. A mere one or two percent of that hoard would be ample for the needs of the undocumented children and would no doubt score major cool points with the donors, who would be thrilled to see their money actually was doing something more useful than hiding out in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Win/Win/Win.

The author of the press release, Oliver Torres, is a new name to us, but considering the enormous hiring binge the SPLC has been on in recent years (from 296 paid employees and 22 volunteers in 2015 to 441 employees and 446 volunteers in 2019) it’s hardly surprising. What is surprising is Mr. Torres’ job title: “Senior Outreach Paralegal for the [SPLC’s] Immigrant Justice Project.”

Considering how important the SPLC claims their work for illegal aliens is, and also considering that half-billion dollars in the bank, the best the company can do is to assign a paralegal to the project? Really? Are there no actual lawyers left at the Law Center?

It would seem that once again the Southern Poverty Law Center is selling image rather than character. No doubt it is going to be “business as usual” with the accent on business as we enter the post-Morris Dees and post-Donald Trump era. As with any huge business organization there is a constant need to devise new products to keep the customers coming back year after year.

It will be worth watching how the “Biden-Harris administration fares with the blowback from this dose of cold political reality.


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