ICE just profiled and harassed a comedic rising star who quickly called them out on Twitter

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The command “Papers, please!” is not something that we in the United States are used to hearing. The phrase conjures images of police in cold war-era spy movies set in totalitarian countries demanding to see identification that citizens are mandated to carry with them at all times to provide on a moment’s notice at the whim of tyrannical authorities.

Here in the home of the free, the very idea of an innocent person being stopped at random by suspicious law enforcement agents is a bizarre concept, since the practice is thought to have been outlawed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment which prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures” and protects against arbitrary arrests,

Yet, this morning ICE agents boarded a Greyhound bus in Spokane, Washington and demanded that Mohaned Elshieky — a Libyan-born, Portland-based comedian who was named by Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco as one of the Comics to Watch at the New York Comedy Festival — present his papers.

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The rising comic detailed the incident in a chilling Twitter thread that demonstrates how far our basic constitutional rights have deteriorated under the xenophobic jihad being waged by the Trump administration.

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Not only did the ICE agents demand to see Elshieky’s immigration documentation without an iota of probable cause other than his ethnicity, but they proceeded to lie and threaten him even after they learned that he was indeed in the country legally, demonstrating the type of racist bias too often prevalent amongst the people tasked with enforcing America’s immigration laws.

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All for what reason? To prevent a law-abiding entertainer who had been legally granted asylum — asylum that they must have personally felt should never been allowed to begin with — from returning to his home?

Elshieky continued his Twitter thread with a description of how the entire encounter affected him emotionally.

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He also lashed out at Greyhound for allowing the ICE agents on the bus to begin with and outed the racist immigration police who violated his rights with a photo to publicly shame the individuals who detained him.

Far from heroes defending our nation from all of the dangerous MS-13 members supposedly lurking around every corner, these pretend patriots are actively undermining the very freedoms that define the United States. It’s almost as if their strategy is to actively work to make America the kind of country to which no one would want to emigrate…or continue to live in.

Monand Elshieky was one of the lucky ones. ICE has illegally detained lifelong American citizens on flimsy, literally Trumped-up charges. Even with a legally obtained asylum status, Elshieky could have easily been held in detention or even been deported in the America that President Trump has transformed from the land of the brave and the home of the free into the land of the racist immigration police and the home of the justifiably paranoid.

As Senator Kamala Harris said in her speech officially launching her presidential campaign today: “We are better than this.”

Most of us are anyway.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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