MSNBC Fears TX Border Security Law Will Allow 911 Calls to Be Refused

News & Politics

The fearmongering from MSNBC was out of control during Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Report. Amid a legal battle over another Texas border security law, host Andrea Mitchell seemingly suggested that the law (now put on hold) would allow 9-1-1 dispatchers to “refuse” certain calls if they suspected it came from an illegal immigrant. She was also joined by two activists for illegals, who claimed the law was meant to allow the cops to just roundup and deport anyone who wasn’t “a white individual or white-passing person.”

Speaking to Jennifer Babaie, the director for advocacy and legal services for Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Mitchell scoffed at Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s (R) assurances that he would not direct the State Troopers to target “longtime residents,” as she put it. She also suggested he would have them use “racial profiling” as they go after “legal residents, longtime residents,” and other who “just might get caught up in this on somebody’s suspicion.”

“It is so important to be aware that the law is written so broadly as to encompass the entire state of Texas. There’s nothing in the writing of this law that focuses it only on the borderland,” Babaie whined, ignoring the fact the Biden administration had bused illegal all over the state. She speculated, without evidence, that the law would be used to arrest people who were in the U.S. legally.

The other guest was Marissa Limon Garza, the executive director of the same organization. In addressing her, Mitchell insisted that Abbott wasn’t concerned about the Houston Police Department and “the law threatening the connections they have built over the years with the immigrant communities, the trust.”

It’s worth noting that Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center was the organization that sued Texas over the law, and when Mitchell shared that fact she had a big smile on her face.

Mitchell’s follow-up question to her racial profiling one seemed to predict that the law would lead to 9-1-1 dispatchers refusing to send help to people. She feared “someone” would “someone refuse a 9-1-1 call” or people would “not call 9-1-1 when they really need help for fear of being arrested.”

“Of course. You know, we are all human beings looking out for the safety and well-being of our families, our neighbors, and our friends. And so, in light of attacks like this by our own state, it definitely has a chilling effect and makes people question, is this peace officer someone I can actually trust?” Garza agreed.

Earlier in the segment, Garza asserted that the “goal” of the law was “a chilling effect, a bit of psychological warfare, a bit of panic and insecurity.” “And the reality is that it was always designed to be political theater, and it was designed to score political points,” she added.

She also claimed, without evidence, that the law was also motivated by racism. “If you’re basically anything other than perhaps a white individual or white-passing person, this law could very easily affect you,” she said. “And it’s important that the larger United States understand that what’s happening in Texas is really a push against the multiracial democracy that this state already is.”

Mitchell praised Garza and Babaie as she ended the segment, butchering both of their names in the process: “Marissa Limon Garcia [sic], Jennifer Ababaie [sic], thank you so much. You bring so much important insights to this argument. We appreciate it.”

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports
March 20, 2024
12:08:44 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: And representatives from one of the groups that filed suit against Texas is joining me now. Melissa Limon Garza, she is the executive director of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the daughter of immigrants from Mexico; and Jennifer Babaie the center’s director for advocacy and legal services. So, welcome both of you.

So Marissa, first to you. You work closely with asylum seekers; you’re so familiar with the community. How worried are people about this confusing — first of all about the law and all the back and forth with the courts?

MARISSA LIMON GARZA: So, both SB4s that we have before us have caused already a great deal of harm, whether it’s a chilling affect, a bit of psychological warfare, a bit of panic and insecurity. And so, I think that’s actually the law’s goal. I know that we are talking that there’s no there there in terms of how this would be actually put into action. And the reality is that it was always designed to be political theater, and it was designed to score political points.

And so, Yes, asylum seekers and other folks all throughout the state – because this is a statewide law — if you’re basically anything other than perhaps a white individual or white-passing person, this law could very easily affect you. And it’s important that the larger United States understand that what’s happening in Texas is really a push against the multiracial democracy that this state already is.

MITCHELL: And Jennifer, you’re an attorney, an advocate on behalf of migrants. I don’t know if you had a chance to track the arguments that have been going on by Zoom for the past hour down there. But what stands out to you in terms of this argument and what the Supreme Court decided?

JENNIFER BABAIE: I think first and foremost, it’s the chaos even within the state. What’s coming out from the arguments, I was able to listen in earlier today, and there is confusion as to — similar to what several county sheriffs and officers have already made public statements about. No one knows the details of how this law is going to go into effect and who will be captured by it. And so, that human cost is too high. One person arrested under this law is too high. And that is what was made clear this morning during the hearing.

MITCHELL: And Jennifer, the governor says that state troopers won’t be targeting longtime residents. But talk to me about racial profiling and if there’s concern that people will — legal residents, longtime residents, just might get caught up in this on somebody’s suspicion.

BABAIE: It is so important to be aware that the law is written so broadly as to encompass the entire state of Texas. There’s nothing in the writing of this law that focuses it only on the border land. And just to take a step back and recall that whether or not someone is a legal permanent resident, a U.S. citizen, perhaps they’re here on a student visa, neither of those things are crimes. And so, one individual mistakenly arrested under this – under this law, who would then be placed in county jail while they were interrogated about their legal status, is just unacceptable. It’s unconstitutional. And that’s why we are fighting it.

MITCHELL: And Marissa, some of the issues that may not bubble up to the governor’s concerns are things like Houston Police Department. They’re concerned about the law threatening the connections they have built over the years with the immigrant communities, the trust. You know, would someone refuse a 9-1-1 call, an emergency call for fear — or not call 9-1-1 when they really need help for fear of being arrested.

GARZA: Of course. You know, we are all human beings looking out for the safety and well-being of our families, our neighbors, and our friends. And so, in light of attacks like this by our own state, it definitely has a chilling affect and makes people question, is this peace officer someone I can actually trust? Or are they instead going to be forced by the state to interrogate me, my loved ones, and potentially jail me or deport me? That gives people great pause.

And again, this is really the goal of this legislation, which has now become law, is designed to really disenfranchise and silence communities of color throughout the state of Texas.

MICHELL: Marissa Limon Garcia [sic], Jennifer Ababaie [sic], thank you so much. You bring so much important insights to this argument. We appreciate it.

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