Why Muslims Are Starving in ICE Detention | Crooked Media
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August 28, 2020
Unholier Than Thou
Why Muslims Are Starving in ICE Detention

In This Episode

This week, Phill starts by discussing Jerry Falwell Jr’s resignation from the evangelical Liberty University amidst news of an alleged sex scandal. Joining Phill is the Luthern pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who helps to unpack the pitfalls of purity culture. Then, Phill takes a deep dive into a story that made headlines last week:  an ICE facility in Miami is currently serving rotten halal meals to its Muslim detainees, with their only other choice being pork, a meat that’s considered haram. Phill talks to Nimra Azmi of Muslim Advocates to better understand the cruelty Muslim detainees in ICE detention are subjected to when trying to practice their faith. Then we hear from Aura Bogado, an investigative reporter at Reveal, who talks Phill through what’s at stake for immigration reform and the people at our borders, come November and beyond.

 

Transcript

 

Phillip Picardi: From Crooked Media, this is Unholier Than Thou. I’m your host, Phillip Picardi. Today, we’ll be talking to immigration experts about a new lawsuit facing United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. We’ll learn more about what this has to do with faith in just a little bit. But first, there’s another headline to grab the attention of, well, pretty much everyone.

 

[news clip] The latest now on the scandal engulfing conservative Christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr. A former pool attendant who became Falwell’s business partner is now speaking out about his affair with Falwell’s wife, saying Falwell approved and observed the intimate relationship.

 

Phillip Picardi: Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of the evangelical institution known ironically as Liberty University, officially resigned from his position on Tuesday. Falwell was among the first high-profile evangelicals to endorse Donald Trump for president. He grew the endowment of Liberty University, a school that, quote, “trains champions for Christ” to a whopping $1.6 billion. Falwell’s resignation came after a gentleman named Giancarlo Granda claims that he regularly met Becky Falwell, Jerry’s wife, for sexual liaisons. Mr. Falwell apparently liked to watch. This appears to be a tale as old as time: evangelical leader, sexual scandal. So why are the holiest ones also so kinky? To understand more we spoke to Nadia Bolz-Weber, an ordained Lutheran pastor, author, and the host of The Confessional podcast.

 

Phillip Picardi: Nadia, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it.

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: My pleasure.

 

Phillip Picardi: First, I want to start by understanding your reaction to Mr. Falwell Jr.’s stepping down announcement that he made this week?

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: I would say the worst part of me is like just filled with glee at every single time any Christian leader who has perpetrated like bullshit purity, culture and shoved that down like young people’s throats, and then that had a damaging effect on the developing sexual psyche of a whole generation—every time those people, you know, end up, quote, “falling from grace” because of, quote, “sexual sin” part of me just loves it like chocolate. So then also, like, the better part of me feels like even though he has perpetrated and been involved in the perpetration of so many harmful teachings around sexuality, he also is a victim to them as well.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right. Yes, absolutely.

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: I also am not into shaming people for what they do sexually. I can’t sort of jump on the bandwagon of, like, making fun of what his sexual proclivities are, because that to me is part of the sexual shame that I’ve tried very hard to extricate myself from.

 

Phillip Picardi: Yeah, in a way, it perpetrates purity culture, right?

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: Yeah, totally.

 

Phillip Picardi: And can you explain for people who may not be familiar with purity culture, can you define that for us?

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: Usually it refers to these teachings within like conservative evangelicalism that really perniciously focus on sex, and especially it’s something that’s taught to young people that is basically like: God created sex and it’s beautiful, but you absolutely are not supposed to think about it, want it, you shouldn’t go to any movies that’s portraying it, you should keep yourself totally pure for your, quote “future husband or future wife.” So there’s also a sort of an idolatry of heterosexual marriage involved in this. Like you will be a complete human being when you find this mythical other person. The thing that happens when you focus so much on sex, is that sex becomes really profoundly unhealthy, in the sense that I think that the restriction of it, the focus on and then restriction of it, creates a compulsivity around it

 

Phillip Picardi: And shame, which is also important, right? To keep sexuality private or to think that you are alone in these feelings of sexuality is also very dangerous, right? Because I also don’t want to conflate that, what you’re talking about, which is very valid point, with the fact that some people have kinks and they are not, you know, ill in any way or don’t have an unhealthy relationship with sex. Sometimes kink can be a healthy relationship with sexuality and a healthy expression of sexuality, too.

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: I think kink is like every other human thing, it can go either way.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right.

 

Nadia Bolz-Webern: That almost anything could be something that’s really healthy for somebody, or it could be something that’s really acting out really unhealthy things. And it’s hard to know unless you’re that person.

 

Phillip Picardi: This also feeds into this idea that there are these gotcha moments that we keep seeing with male religious leaders where their sexuality doesn’t exactly match what they preach, right? So what is the line between holding these religious leaders accountable versus stigmatizing and mocking their sexual proclivities? Right, because they’re hypocrites. So shouldn’t they be called out for being hypocrites? But can you call someone a hypocrite without involving the sex act that happened? Do you know what I mean? It’s complicated.

 

Nadia Bolz-Webern: I do. That’s why I said, like it’s very tricky for me. The thing that I end up sort of talking about a lot right now is I think that we can call a thing what it is. We can talk about the harm that certain teachings or institutions or actions or words of people have caused in people’s lives. Like I think it’s important to name the truth of that. And at the same time, we can have compassion for the people who’ve caused the harm in terms of the ways that they are often embroiled in something that they can’t get out of. Or they’ve had harm done to them. Like both things can be true. And a lot of times to have compassion for people who’ve caused harm feels perilously close to saying that the thing they did wasn’t harmful. And I don’t think that’s true.

 

Phillip Picardi: One of the things I’ve been grappling with as I’ve been watching this news story unfold is that a lot of what we are saying has crossed my mind, right? The sense that this man was both a prisoner, and as someone on Twitter told me, a profiteer of purity culture. On the other hand, I also don’t feel bad for him. I really don’t. I don’t have, there’s no, there’s no part of my heart that holds sympathy for Jerry Falwell Jr. And I struggle with that because I know that the good Christian thing to do would be to have both things maybe exist in my heart at the same time, to know that he was bad and to condemn him for being bad and want him to be held accountable, but then also to have sympathy for the fact that he is a victim of the culture that he perpetrated. And I, and I guess what I’m asking you as a spiritual leader is, is it OK that I don’t feel bad or should I be working more towards feeling bad for him?

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: I guess I reject the premise of the question, only because whenever we get into like I should be doing this, it seldom leads down like the healthiest, most integrated path for us, even if it’s like I should feel—

 

Phillip Picardi: Oh, I love this answer.

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: I should feel sympathy. You feel what, you feel. You know, it’s there. The thing with Christianity, [laughs] with Western Christianity, is like it’s so individualistic and it has, that has bled into more things than I think we realize. So even down to like, I as an individual have to have, I really should be feeling sympathy or compassion towards Jerry Falwell Jr.. No, man, because you know what? Some people are holding that, and that’s enough. It doesn’t have to be every single individual because there might be times where, like, I do have compassion for him. I don’t have sympathy. I think those are two different things. But I have some compassion for him. And so, like, maybe you don’t have to. Like, I’ll just carry that shit for both of us.

 

Phillip Picardi: I feel a revolution being birthed upon my soul right now. And you brought it to me. So thank you so much and thank you for being here with us today. Really appreciate it.

 

Nadia Bolz-Weber: Oh, my pleasure. Yeah.

 

Phillip Picardi: Now to our Deep Dive for this week’s episode. Reports recently surfaced that officials in an ICE detention facility in Miami were serving expired halal meals to Muslim people in custody. Halal meals effectively mean food that’s in accordance with Muslim tradition. Their alternatives were starvation or eating pork. Of course, pork is not considered halal. It’s widely known as the most forbidden of all foods for a devout Muslim person. To learn more about this case, I spoke to Nimra Azmi, a staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. Nimra is using litigation and other forms of legal advocacy to help hold ICE accountable, and to guarantee the right to religious freedom for the many Muslim people in ICE detention.

 

Phillip Picardi: To start us off, I want to understand the bigger picture at hand. Can you tell me a little bit about what is happening to so many Muslim people who are immigrating to America and why?

 

Nimra Azmi: I think there’s a variety of things that are occurring, but the big picture issue that we are addressing here at Muslim advocates at this time is a rampant disregard for the religious beliefs and the necessary associated accommodations for those beliefs in immigration detention. And so that isn’t something that’s new. I think it’s also part and parcel of the broader apparatus that is immigration detention. That is the ethos of ICA, right! They, part of the message around immigration detention that’s particularly come heightened in the Trump administration is that these conditions are designed to be so deplorable that they are a deterrent to people who would seek to come to this country.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right. For listeners who may not be as familiar with the specifics of this story, can you tell us a little bit about what’s been happening at what I understand is an ICE-run center in Miami?

 

Nimra Azmi: Yeah, that’s right. So this is a facility that’s ICE-run, run operated. It’s an ICE detention facility in Miami called Khrome. And we receive reports from one of our partners, Americans for Immigrant Justice that does a lot of immigration work in the South Florida area and they have a lot of contacts with detainees at Khrome, including Muslim detainees. And the Muslim detainees reported that there is just a series of issues that have sort of wrapped into each other and have been augmented by the pandemic, but essentially the first piece is that the facility has been for about two years now regularly surviving expired or rotten halal meals to Muslim detainees. And so halal, is it sort of like, you know, like Jewish people eat kosher? It’s our version of kosher. And so the first piece is that the halal meals were expired, or rotten very frequently. And when the detainees tried to address this with the chaplain, with the other staff, they were dismissed. It was disregarded. But before the pandemic, they were able to sort of work around this by picking and choosing what they ate at the cafeteria from the general population meals. And so even if there is, for example, pork on the menu, they could pick other things and avoid that pork. However, after the pandemic hit, the facility shifted to something called satellite feeding. And so what satellite feeding means is that instead of people kind of congregating in a cafeteria and gathering their meals, the meals are served pre-plated in every housing unit or pod, and so people don’t get to choose what they eat. It’s just served to them and then they eat it. And so during the pandemic, oftentimes the meals that they’re served that are pre-plated will include pork. And so they’re not able to eat those meals. And because the halal meals are rotten, the detainees are sort of left to choose between going hungry, between violating their faith, or risking their health, all in the middle of a pandemic.

 

Phillip Picardi: OK, so if I’m understanding this right, the choice for a lot of the Muslim detainees is eat expired halal food and risk getting ill, or eat pre-plated meals containing pork, thereby betraying their faith. Is that right?

 

Nimra Azmi: Yeah. Or eating nothing at all. That’s your third option.

 

Phillip Picardi: Are the detainees that you have been in contact with, are they choosing that third option or what have you been hearing from them?

 

Nimra Azmi: I mean, I’ve been hearing a few people have still, despite experiencing stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting, still choosing to eat the halal meals, because I think that it’s so kind of deep-seated in their faith practice to eat halal, that they’ll risk their health for it. And it’s really concerning, right.

 

Phillip Picardi: Right.

 

Nimra Azmi: We’re in the middle of a pandemic. And these facilities, these ICE facilities are such, they’re tinderboxes for COVID and so you add these other elements in and it’s just a very dangerous situation that these detainees are put in for simply wanting to come to this country.

 

Phillip Picardi: Sure. And I guess to zoom out a little bit further, can you help me understand, rather, exactly what Islam teaches about haram versus halal, and particularly when it comes to food?

 

Nimra Azmi: Sure. So, I mean, haram, just big picture means this is forbidden. Halal means that it’s allowed. And so that can be conduct. That can be a whole host of things. But in the food context, one of the things that the Quran forbids is pork, and so pork is considered haram and you’re not supposed to eat that. You’re not supposed to eat anything that’s derived of pork. So people don’t eat gelatin, even if it’s processed, that’s or sausages that are cased in some kind of pork, right even if it’s chicken sausage. Like you’re not supposed to eat any of that. Whereas on the flipside, halal is the meat context, it’s meat that’s killed in the right way, so it’s cut at the throat and it’s blessed with the name of Allah before it.

 

Phillip Picardi: So what happened when ICE received complaints from the Muslim people who are currently in their camps who are saying, I can’t eat the food you’re offering me?

 

Nimra Azmi: Well, nothing happened. Some of the detainees complained to the chaplain, who is charged with the spiritual to ensure that all of the people in his care have access to their spiritual needs being met. And the chaplain sort of dismissed them. He told them it is what it is. He told them that he wasn’t going to really do anything about it. They tried to file paper grievances. Those were never picked up, those were never responded to. They tried to file electronic grievances through these tablets that are kept in each of the housing units. And what the detainees report is that they would file these electronic grievances, wouldn’t get any response and then a few days later, they checked the tablet again and it just said that the grievance was closed, right, without any kind of further action on it, without talking to the detainee about it.

 

Phillip Picardi: And I understand that this is just one of many tactics that ICE is using that seem to disproportionately impact or even target Muslim people that are in custody, correct?

 

Nimra Azmi: Yeah. I mean, I think, again, as I mentioned, the religious meals is one thing but there’s a whole host of ways in which ICE degrades the humanity of these people, right? You know, the denial of things like prayer, not offering Ramadan meals on time, interrupting prayer, denying access to religious texts, denying access to religious articles. And for a lot of these people who are in immigration detention, it is harrowing. It is emotionally harrowing to be in immigration detention. And so what the people really rely on and to sort of maintain their humanity, to maintain their sense of self is religious practice. And so to deny that, it cuts very deep.

 

Phillip Picardi: Mmm. Forgive me for sounding naive, but I would assume that freedom of religion as a core tenet or a so-called core tenant of American civil liberties would be extended to people who are in ICE custody. Am I misunderstanding something here?

 

Nimra Azmi: No, you’re not. It actually is. So the First Amendment applies to ICE custody. A statute called the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act applies in ICE custody. There, I mean, the law is very clear that these detainees are supposed to have their religious rights secured absent some kind of really compelling government interest that prevents that, and oftentimes that compelling government interest, it does not exist, right? It is, they just don’t want to do it. They don’t view these people as equal people. And so they don’t really care or they don’t understand the religion. They think the religion is weird, so they don’t care. And, you know, unlike, you know, criminal incarceration, which, you know, very problematically, the conditions of it are, can be punitive in some ways, which is deeply problematic. But immigration detention is to be considered like civil detention, right? It’s not punitive detention. It’s, the conditions are not meant to be designed to sort of break people down. But as I mentioned, I think, you know, part of the role and ethos that ICE has assumed for itself is this idea of creating just such deplorable conditions in immigration detention that people are scared to want to come to this country.

 

Phillip Picardi: ICE has obviously been particularly emboldened in the past four years under the Trump administration, and Donald Trump did run on a campaign promise of instituting a Muslim ban in America. I wonder what you or the organization seems to think about Trump’s campaign promise and if that feeds into the treatment that Muslim detainees are experiencing at the hand of ICE agents today in America?

 

Nimra Azmi: Sure. I think that, you know, anti-Muslim bigotry has been so normalized since 9/11, right? I remember growing up in 9/11 and people had no idea what Muslims were prior to September 11th. And then after September 11th, there were so many notions about, you know, what a Muslim was, and none of them were really good, right? And I think that Trump sort of spun that out even further and really just made clear and obvious a lot of the undercurrents of American discourse around Muslims. And I think the Muslim ban is a piece of this much larger anti-immigrant agenda, anti-brown, anti-Black person agenda that this administration has really just pushed forth over the last four years. And I would connect you know, the Muslim ban, to family separation, to these conditions at immigration detention, to the whole host of things that we’ve seen this administration do to, you know, ultimately, I think, create their vision of a white America.

 

Phillip Picardi: Before we close, is there anything that our listeners can do to help take action to protect the Muslim folks who are in ICE custody or to support the work that you and Muslim Advocates are doing?

 

Nimra Azmi: Yeah, absolutely, so I would encourage people to visit Muslimadvocates dot org and you get a sense of our work not only in the immigration space, but also against the Muslim ban and prisoners’ rights, employment discrimination—we work on a whole host of really important issues that really do center to religious liberty. And at the Muslim Advocates website, we have an action center, at the Action Center you can sign a petition to address this issue with ICE. We want to really elevate it. We want them to know that people really do care about this and that this isn’t something that they can sweep under the rug with some sort of high-level statement that this isn’t happening. This is important that people do care, that even though I think oftentimes immigration detainees are some of our most vulnerable and voiceless folks, that people will lend their voices for these people.

 

Phillip Picardi: Awesome Nimra, good luck with the rest of the case and thank you for all the work you’re doing.

 

Nimra Azmi: Yeah. Thank you so much, Phill.

 

Phillip Picardi: Coming up, my conversation with investigative reporter Aura Bogado. She’ll tell us what’s at stake for ICE come November.

 

[ad break]

 

Phillip Picardi: Nimra is working to help countless Muslim people who are in ICE custody, but, what with the election upcoming, I wanted to get a bigger picture of what’s at stake come November. There’s been a lot of news to follow lately, a global pandemic, protests, natural disasters, and unfortunately, the Republican National Convention. But it occurred to me while working on this episode that I haven’t heard stories about ICE in quite a long time. But according to my friends, the immigration investigative reporter Aura Bogado, that doesn’t mean ICE hasn’t been busy. She filled me in on what they’ve been up to under the cover of the pandemic, and what will and sadly will not change should Trump lose in November.

 

Phillip Picardi: Aura, thank you so much for being with us today.

 

Aura Bogado: Thank you so much for having me, Phill.

 

Phillip Picardi: It is my pleasure. I know this is a tall order, but I’m wondering if you can give us a brief overview of the role that ICE plays in America right now, and how that role has changed under President Donald Trump.

 

Aura Bogado: Well, ICE is mostly known for the interior enforcement. So when people, particularly migrants or even immigrants, come to the border with or without authorization, we’re talking about border patrol. And so that’s, you know, at the border. Interior enforcement is mostly done by ICE. There are lots of exceptions that we can get into, but that’s really the arm of enforcement that goes into communities, may show up at people’s homes. There’s all kinds of agreements with local entities. So we see this a lot all over the United States, particularly in the south, where you’ll have, you know, the sheriff of a county that likes to turn people over to ICE for something that may have originated with a broken taillight. Here in California, the rule is that we’re not supposed to have that kind of cooperation with ICE, but we do still see exceptions to it. That’s generally what it does. I think the biggest difference under Trump is the visibility of ICE. I know that this may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but, you know, under Obama, there was a tremendous amount of enforcement and Secure Communities, PIP—there were just so many programs that Obama brought into being that live on today with the Trump administration. But with also the rhetoric that surrounds it has really, really changed under this administration.

 

Phillip Picardi: Mmm, right. And one of the key parts of Trump’s rhetoric was his campaign promise to institute a Muslim ban in the United States. And there have been so many cases and so many headlines about the Muslim ban over the past four years that Donald Trump has been president. But I wonder, from your perspective as a reporter, do you think that Trump has fulfilled that campaign promise, or what is the status of the so-called Muslim ban today?

 

Aura Bogado: The Muslim ban is very particular to Trump. Aside from the ban itself, which sought to limit the entry of people who originate from Muslim countries, which has succeeded in keeping thousands of people out, in separating families, through a swift action of the Trump administration. It was one of the first things he did when he entered office. I think what we’ve also seen with that that isn’t codified in the law is this heightened xenophobia against certain kinds of people, and Muslims or people who are perceived to be Muslims, people of a certain skin color, someone who may have a particular accent, someone who may have family in another country going back one, two, three generations—those people are then in that ‘other’ category. And that’s what Trump has been really great at in terms of his rhetoric, in terms of his campaigning now for reelection, is animating that, the fear of those other boxes, right? That a large degree of people in the United States of America haven’t been able to really challenge themselves and get over. And so I think that besides the actual legal effect of keeping people out of the country, there has been this sort of cultural effect that has, I think, paid off for him.

 

Phillip Picardi: And do you think that that cultural fear that Donald Trump instilled with his rhetoric, do you think that that in any way has manifested itself in emboldening the actions of ICE agents across the nation?

 

Aura Bogado: It’s hard to say whether it’s emboldened ICE agents. I can say that I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. Where I do think that it does sort of align and kind of make sense is that ICE agents enforce a law, or enforce notions that say certain people cannot live in this country or their presence is not authorized in this country, and, you know, to have the president so clearly attack immigrant communities, I think that it would make sense that it would make their job a little more exciting.

 

Phillip Picardi: A lot of your reporting specifically has had to do with how immigrants or asylum seekers are treated once they are in ICE custody. I’m wondering if you can tell us a little bit about what you’ve discovered during some of your investigations.

 

Aura Bogado: So immigrant detention for a long time, way before the Trump administration, has been pretty horrific. I reported pretty extensively on what was happening in some of the Arizona detention centers, more than 10 years ago. I had women describe to me that they would have to fashion sanitary pads out of toilet paper and they didn’t have unlimited toilet paper and so they would sort of get together and share as much as possible. The food is always horrible. The water is not always clean. The detention facilities are pretty bad. I think what’s changed this year, where there has again been a really big change under Trump is that now we have this pandemic. We’ve reported, my colleague in particular, Laura C. Morel she’s reported on asylum seekers in detention who fear catching the virus. They’re under-informed inside, but they try to remain informed either through, you know, trying to understand what the news is saying or mostly through family members. And inside they’re underprepared. People are using socks as a sort of a makeshift mask. There just aren’t detention centers that are really ready to either test people or to not transfer people. So I think that that is the sort of big difference under Trump. And I also want to explain that a lot of times because we see and hear that people are detained and they’re migrants and they’re immigrants, and they’re brown, there is this just automatic notion that people are, you know, serving hard time. This is not prison. This is also not a jail. This is called the detention center for a reason. People in immigrant detention are being held on civil matters. Once you’re in ICE detention, you’re not even, there’s no alleged crime to have happened. You yourself are not a crime for existing. Immigration law is administrative, bureaucratic law, and there’s all of these ins and outs and people are working those ins and outs, so if you come to the border and you come to a point of entry, as is stated by international law and recognized by national law in the United States, and you say, I want asylum, I am fleeing religious persecution or racial persecution from my country, you will most likely be placed in ICE detention. This is just this entire huge kind of made up system that holds people that a lot of times people might perceive as like automatically being criminal. But it’s that the actions and the people themselves are being criminalized, really just for existing

 

Phillip Picardi: Now in terms of what the future of immigration looks like in America. Do you think that the outcome of the November election will impact ICE and will change the conditions at all in our immigration detention centers? Or do you feel like things will more or less go unchanged?

 

Aura Bogado: In terms of a change for the immigration detention centers, I don’t foresee that. And I don’t foresee that because two reasons. One, Biden was part of the Obama administration in which I heard and reported firsthand on very similar and even exact conditions inside of immigrant detention. But two, because I haven’t heard it from Biden. Could that change? Absolutely. In the campaign, you know, he just accepted the nomination very recently, but I have not heard any concrete step to change what the conditions are like inside. If I do hear about something, I will let you know.

 

Phillip Picardi: And I guess what’s at stake for the country if our immigration policies and our anti-immigration rhetoric does not change,

 

Aura Bogado: You know, off and on for years, I’ve, when I talk about the future with people—sorry to sound like such a pessimist—but I feel like in I don’t know, 15, 20 years, we are going to have to come to a point at which we’re either doing some kind of reconciliation, or some kind of peace talks with white supremacists. And I said that before the Trump administration, because I had long been watching this sort of fomenting this anger and this hatred against other people, people like myself, people like my community, people like the communities that I report on. Once Trump came into office for me, that signaled like, wow, this may be happening even faster than I thought. I think that the fear that Trump presents to a lot of communities of color is that the policies, while they may not shift too much, they’ve shifted just enough that the rhetoric further animates a hatred that’s, you know, it’s started to heat up and is really coming to a boil.

 

Phillip Picardi: In closing Aura, I wonder if you have any specific calls to action for our readers to help people who are trying to make a home in our country?

 

Aura Bogado: Well, I don’t have specific calls to action. I am an investigative reporter, and so I am trying to remain as objective as possible. I say as objective as possible because we’re all human beings, and I think that well, I know that I’m one of the few Latina investigative reporters and one of the few Latina immigration reporters. So in terms of calls to action, I don’t have a specific one. I do want to just leave listeners with something that is, you know, there’s been kind of heightened call to abolish ICE. And if people prescribe to that, I think that it’s important to think about two things. It’s not only ICE. There can be a way here to make a new vision that also tackles border patrol, immigration courts, and also enforcement in general. And so that’s something to think about. And then the other thing to think about is that abolishing certain institutions are long-held community sentiments, for a very long time across, you know, ages. A lot of people whose families have been affected and whose communities have been affected by this particular kind of enforcement have wanted to abolish ICE. So also to just recognize that, you know, there’s a lot of knowledge within certain communities, not only that, that’s been calling for getting rid of this system, but can also, envision, help envision new ones?

 

Phillip Picardi: Excellent. Aura, thank you so much.

 

Aura Bogado: Thank you for having me Phill.

 

Phillip Picardi: I would love to tell you that we should all be shocked and outraged that people are being denied religious freedom at our borders. And we can certainly be outraged, but shock only exposes our ignorance. The people leading the fight for so-called religious freedom in this country are mostly white conservative Christians. These are the people who consistently fail to speak up when the rights of others, of people who do not look like them, are being violated. This is unfortunately about American as it gets.

 

Unholier Than Thou is a Crooked Media production. Our producers are Adriana Cargill and Elisa Gutierrez, with production support from Alison Falzetta. The theme song is by Taka Yasuzawa and our executive producers are Lyra Smith and Sara Geismer. Thanks for listening.