Last week, our Republican State Senator Marty Golden went on Brian Lehrer’s show on WNYC and dropped so much bullshit in roughly four minutes of airtime, it took me several days to unpack it all. He was immediately called out by activists and local press for inventing a link between the 9/11 hijackers and the Muslim community in Bay Ridge, but in fairness, everything that came out of his mouth was a steaming mess.
Lehrer was interviewing Golden and Republican Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (from Geneva, NY, on Seneca Lake) about a proposal to pass a state version of New York City’s sanctuary law.
(Cliffs Notes: the city version of the law means that local law-enforcement does not honor detainer requests from ICE—the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—for immigrants that are in our jails for low-level offenses. However, ICE has jurisdiction to conduct its own operations and make arrests for violations specific to immigration law.)
Old Immigrants Always Concern-Trolling The New
Lehrer: Senator Golden, coming from Brooklyn, because there is an Upstate/Downstate split on this to some degree, and I imagine you have a fair number of undocumented immigrants in your district, do you also oppose this bill?
Golden: I do indeed… we all came from—my parents came from Ireland. They raised eight kids. They all, kids that they raised, gave back to the community, many of them joined law enforcement, they came in with a sponsor and they had a job.
It’s this kind of hypocritical, self-serving bias that has provided the foundation for discrimination against immigrants at just about every point in our nation’s history. My American experience is the one, true path, but you new guys are doing it wrong and should be deported. This is a similar tact to the anti-immigration/anti-DREAMer Nicole Malliotakis, whose mother and father are immigrants from Cuba and Greece, respectively.
A Crooked Pathway
The important thing here is that this is a nation of rule of law, and we need to be able to bring the undocumented out of the shadows, find the pathway to citizenship…
On its face, this is the most positive, welcoming, and forward-thinking point Golden had to make. He should be lauded for saying it, if only there were reason to believe he meant it. But it runs counter to everything else he said, starting with his opposition to the Sanctuary bill. If a pathway to citizenship is really Golden’s objective, then why create a pathway for ICE to deport them?
It’s Called the Census
…and to make sure that those that are here are planned for future communities, and how our communities are planned for when it comes to education, when it comes to transportation, when it comes to healthcare, we need to know these numbers we need to know who they are and where they are.
Fun fact: the country already does this, with or without the Sanctuary bill. It’s called the “census.” Every 10 years, the government counts how many people there are and where they live. The data has been crucial for government at all levels to plan services like education, transportation and health care.
Funner fact: it’s actually his beloved Trump regime that plans on making this harder by asking about immigration status during the 2020 census, a move certain to drive down response rates among undocumented communities.
Opposition to the Sanctuary bill isn’t about bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows for urban planning purposes—that makes no sense. It’s about bringing them out of the shadows in order to deport them. That’s a fact, just not a fun one.
Won’t Somebody Think of the Children
When it comes to crime, when you’ve got a guy living next door to you that has the ability to get away with some of these crimes, using a child for sexual performance, the sale of controlled substance, the number of kids dying today across our country, across our state from heroin, and we’re letting these people stay here…
Sanctuary laws: they’re not a magic shield. No one “gets away” with anything—they still go through the criminal justice system just like anyone else! They’re also not a shield for child predators—the city government honors detainer requests for 170 crimes, including any felony involving violence, force, firearms, terrorism and public endangerment.
When In Doubt, Use Unrelated Statistics
…just take a look at this number, in the last four years, there were 121 illegal aliens with criminal records that were released that committed murder after they were released. Think about that. That’s one every two weeks. We cannot allow that to continue.
A couple things here: these 121 murders were committed by people who had been arrested, tried, and convicted, and served their sentences, and were already scheduled for deportation, but their home countries wouldn’t accept them, and we still have a thing in this country that says you can’t detain a person past their sentence. It’s frustrating, it’s a hole in the system, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Sanctuary laws.
You Can’t Refute Babble
This is about getting the bad element off of the street. And if you listen to some of the rhetoric out there, well, there’s a guy that committed a grand larceny or petit larceny, well grand larceny is allowed to stay, petit larcency is allowed to stay as well. Think about that. It’s not about a petit larceny, it’s about them committing 20, 30 crimes, felonies and misdemeanors. They do not belong on the streets of the City and State of New York.
When you get bored with broken logic, try switching to word salad. It’s just the sort of informed insight people expect from their state lawmakers.
Then Make Up Stuff About 9/11
Lehrer: Mayor de Blasio argues that Sanctuary Cities actually essentially a public safety bill, because people who are here illegally would be afraid to report crimes, and there are, you know, a lot of inner-city residents who might be more vulnerable to crimes than a lot of other people in other neighborhoods, and that that makes it a public safety measure. And that, short of the deportation, anybody who commits any kind of crime, any kind of violent crime, certainly would be punished by the justice system, would get whatever prison time they deserve to get if the local justice system is working properly so that deportation becomes kind of irrelevant to that. What’s your argument to the, you know, in response to the suggestion that this is actually an increase in public safety?
That’s not a trick question. Lehrer wasn’t trying to get Golden to say something stupid.
Golden: It’s very simple. The person that, a number of them that drove the planes on 9/11 into the buildings at World Trade Center, that killed 3,000 Americans, are you ready for this? They lived, they were in this community. They lived here in Bay Ridge. They went visiting in this community. We cannot allow the people that are going to harm us, we cannot have the next 9/11. We need to make sure that the people that are committing these crimes are out of this country. They do not belong here.
Um, okay. Glossing over the fact that doesn’t answer the question that was asked.
In the past three weeks, the Republican party has explicitly told the nation that GOP-landia is an alternate reality based on alternate facts that are largely the opposite of actual facts. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve had this coming ever since we let them off the hook for spitting in the face of 97 percent of the climate science community.
As Max Jaeger pointed out for the Brooklyn Paper, this 9/11-Bay Ridge link is simply is not true. It’s appalling in any context, and the context today is that tens of thousands of immigrants and visitors from specific Muslim-majority countries are being criminalized for nothing more than their country of origin.
By the end of the weekend, Team Golden claimed he had mixed it up with the 1993 bombing. That seems to be happening a lot with the Republican party these days. Kellyanne Conway conjured an obscure story into a massacre that never happened; Shouty Spice kept talking about a terrorism attack in Atlanta but then swore he meant Orlando. (We knew he wasn’t referring to the 1996 bombing of the Olympics, because that was committed by an anti-abortion terrorist instead of a Muslim.) They can claim “we mixed it up” or “we misspoke” all they want, but the bottom line is, they’re making stuff up, they’re doing it all the time, because actual facts don’t back up their claims that immigrants and Muslims pose a threat to your security and safety.
In Marty’s case, he’ll make up lies to sow mistrust and monger fear, even at the cost of hurting his own community.