It’s been 25 years the since the Rodney King riots, and it seems like another wave of civil unrest in Los Angeles has never been more likely. Even LA Mayor Eric Garcetti thinks that his city could be a “tinderbox,” ready to blow. During a recent interview with Latino USA, he admitted that he thinks President Trump’s tough immigration policies could spark LA’s next riot.
On Friday’s NPR’s “Latino USA” podcast, Garcetti said it is dangerous when “ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] calls themselves police,” adding that “it’s bad for ICE and it’s bad for LAPD” because “people open that door expecting to see LAPD.” He said “if something goes wrong” when ICE agents try to deport illegal immigrants, “I fear a tinderbox out there, where people will suddenly say no and try to defend… keep that person from being taken. That’s a very dangerous situation.”
“We just commemorated 25 years since the urban unrest and we know how quickly things can explode,” Garcetti said, referring to the 1992 L.A. riots.
Obviously, Garcetti is seriously biased here. He’s a liberal mayor who is highly sympathetic to illegal immigration, and he wants to preserve his city’s sanctuary status. But I don’t think we should take this statement as a shallow attempt to scare voters away from Trump’s immigration policies. Regardless of how you feel about Garcetti’s politics, it’s still very likely that we could see riots stemming from Trump’s immigration crackdown.
Garcetti painted a scenario for how this riot could be sparked, based on an incident that happened in March when an illegal immigrant parent was taken by ICE after dropping his daughter off at school.
“Imagine a parent who’s dropping off their child. As we’ve seen, ICE officers, ICE agents take that parent away, and it’s videotaped. Imagine if that’s on the sidewalk and students start swarming, and they’re teenagers. It’s dangerous for those agents. It’s dangerous for our city.”
Of course, there’s one fact that Garcetti is leaving out. Because he’s so sympathetic to the sanctuary city status of Los Angeles, he doesn’t want to admit that the vast majority of illegal immigrants who are being detained by ICE under Trump, are dangerous criminals.
Garcetti’s criticism of ICE comes after the agency recently announced more than 41,000 arrests during President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office – a 37.6% increase from that same period last year. According to ICE, nearly 75 percent of those detained “are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.” ICE agents were also part of a recent operation in Los Angeles targeting MS-13 gang members – some of whom have links to the Mexican Mafia. 50 predawn raids on May 17 resulted in 44 arrests. More than half of those detained were in the country illegally.
So we have to ask ourselves, will Trump’s immigration crackdown cause riots in LA, even if most of the immigrants being deported are violent criminals?
The unfortunate answer to that question, is yes. Even if 99% of the illegal immigrants being deported were violent criminals, we could still see a riot in LA. When people are emotional about a subject they tend to ignore statistics, and LA is a very liberal city that hates Trump and his policies. All it will take is one controversial ICE operation, caught on film, and the people in that city will jump on it, statistics be damned.
And that’s the sad reality of our current situation. We now live in a country where the president can work toward enforcing the law and deporting criminals who came here illegally, and his lawful actions will result in riots.