The line between anti-immigrant hate groups and the Trump administration blurred a little further this month as the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement attended the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) annual media event, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Among the attendees was Ronald Vitiello, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On September 5, as highlighted by America’s Voice and promoted by FAIR, radio host Tom Roten interviewed Vitiello. Preceding Vitiello on Roten’s program were such hate group leaders as Ric Oberlink, executive director of anti-immigrant hate group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), and Dale Wilcox, executive director of FAIR’s legal arm, Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).
Vitiello told Roten he hopes to be confirmed as the permanent director of ICE and that the “paperwork is in front of the Senate now.”
Speaking about the family separation policy, a program that has received bipartisan condemnation, Vitiello shrugged off that “only 2,500 people were affected by that situation.”
In June, Vox reported Trump administration officials said “2,342 children have been separated from 2,206 parents at the U.S.-Mexico border between May 5 and June 9.” In a little more than a month, almost 5,000 people were directly affected. On August 31, theWashington Post reported almost 500 children remain separated from their families and in U.S. government-funded shelters.
At the end of his interview, Vitiello said he is “have an administration that backs rule of law, that wants the country secure and wants the country protected and we’re happy to be a part of that.”
Vitiello’s appearance at FAIR’s gathering signals a growing alliance between the federal government and the anti-immigrant movement. Furthermore, it underscores the already blurred lines between the anti-immigrant movement and federal government.