NOI 20: Selena Gomez, a Crocodile-filled Border Moat, and Shooting at Immigrants

Attorney Jacob Tingen discusses several of the policies that have been proposed and talks about the human element of immigration.

Jacob Tingen: Well, hello, Nation of Immigrants. Thanks for coming as always. I’ve been a little busy, so I haven’t done as many of these as I would have liked to this week. There has been some interesting news about immigration lately. I’ve been in court, immigration court, which is a two hour-ish drive from my office here. But it can sometimes be much longer. But there were some interesting headlines. So that provides, I guess, the inspiration for today’s title, Selena Gomez, A Crocodile-filled Border Moat, and Shooting Immigrants in the Legs. So let’s talk about what they have in common after the intro.

Announcer: You’re listening to Nation of Immigrants-

President Obama: America is a nation of immigrants.

Announcer: … a podcast about U.S. immigration law with your host Jacob Tingen.

Jacob Tingen: Okay, so let’s look at these headlines. The first one that I thought was interesting was Selena Gomez, a celebrity getting involved in the issue of immigration. She has an interesting, I guess, thought piece that I enjoyed, and I thought it was really great. And apparently, there’s a six-episode series on Netflix called Living Undocumented that she executive produced, which I’m grateful that things and projects like this exist. Because what I’m trying to do is raise awareness in my own way. Of course, Selena Gomez has a much bigger platform than I do to do the same thing. So if you are a Netflix subscriber, watch the series. There’s probably interesting information that you would like that goes to the root of some of the problems that we’ll be talking about. I’ll watch it too and if I find some interesting things that we haven’t already discussed or things that we might discuss in the future, I’d be happy to talk about them in the show.

Jacob Tingen: You can leave a comment. Let me know what you’d like to hear about or comment on. So in this article that Selena Gomez writes, she writes about her own… She was born here in the U.S. and is Mexican-American, but she talks about how members of her family have struggled with this issue of being an undocumented immigrant in the United States, and the struggles they’ve had to go through, and how it is kind of on her mind even though she’s not like an industry expert in the issue of immigration. It’s clearly something that’s important to her in her family history. Frankly, immigration should be important to everyone’s family history here in the United States. Yeah, so that’s kind of the news on that. I was interested and kind of touched by the story she wrote and what that means for her and her family life. So check out her series on Netflix, Living Undocumented.

Jacob Tingen: So let’s get to the more just kind of Doctor Evil-level policies that have been proposed out there. I read this interesting New York Times article, and then I saw another headline after it was published where Trump says, “I’m not that tough.” Yet, I think I’m going to trust the New York Times reporting some of these issues. So at some point at different policy discussions or conversations that haven’t been had in The White House from Donald Trump, he at one point apparently suggested, “Why don’t we just shoot the immigrants?” And when informed that that wasn’t lawful to just shoot and kill people approaching our border, “Why don’t we just shoot them in the legs then and slow them down a bit?” Whether or not that was a serious policy proposal or even just an offhand joke, it’s not very funny. So that’s problematic.

Jacob Tingen: But the one that kind of gets me the most, that I think is just hilarious, is he proposed having not just a border wall to prevent people from coming in but also a literal medieval-style moat with crocodiles and snakes, which I just think is fascinating. I guess maybe if we were that kind of podcast, we’d have looked at the metrics of this, how many crocodiles and snakes would you need for it to be effective. I didn’t do any of that, but the thoughts have crossed my mind is, “Oh my gosh, what do you need to do to build a border moat filled with crocodiles and snakes and to be effectively dangerous? How do you feed that many animals? Would taxpayer money go to pay to feed all… Would Mexico pay to feed all the crocodiles and snakes that would be required to fill this border moat? What would the ecological impact be like?”

Jacob Tingen: It’s just kind of mind-boggling to consider. Other thoughts about the border wall that apparently were proposed in some of these meetings were to have a border wall with also just spikes on the top. Again, like a Great Wall of Texas scenario complete with an animal-filled moat. So that’s just kind of frightening and terrifying to think about. You know, I haven’t tried to criticize the president, I mean, the president in this podcast. I’ve tried to focus mainly on immigration issues, but inevitably President Trump’s policies and ideas, I have to comment on them because they deal with the issue of immigration. So I’m just going to comment on this. This is insane. Like, who seriously sits in a meeting and says, “Let’s build a border moat filled with the crocodiles.” Or, asks questions like, “Why can’t we just shoot migrants in the legs as they approach our border?” This is not okay.

Jacob Tingen: So without getting further into that, I think it’s safe to assume that these aren’t relevant policy discussions that should be had in The White House of all places and that there are better solutions. That’s always been the case. When it comes to building a physical wall, a lot of people, including border experts and immigration hardliners, have said that building a wall is not an effective deterrent and wouldn’t solve any of our immigration policy problems. So I think the same can be said for a border moat filled with crocodiles and snakes. So that’s pretty much it for Nation of Immigrants today. I wanted to comment on those two things. Again, look out for Living Undocumented on Netflix. I’m very curious and kind of interested to see what’s there. I bet it will jive a lot with the experiences that I see from day to day with my clients.

Jacob Tingen: Then, I’m sure that there’s a lot more to be covered when it comes to our court processes and systems. I’m curious to see what’s on Living Undocumented. I’m curious to see if they’re going to make it potentially a second season and talk more about some of these issues. But right now, what immigrants are looking at is fighting a system and an administration that would literally shoot them if they could and also tame alligators apparently. So, again, that’s it for Nation of Immigrants.

Jacob Tingen: If you’d like to contribute to the podcast, go find us at You can donate there. Also, you can find us, subscribe, and follow at our YouTube channel, The Tingen Law YouTube channel, my Facebook page, my firm’s Facebook page. And just generally, it’s pretty easy to find us online. So that’s it. Thank you very much for listening.

Announcer: Thank you for listening to Nation of Immigrants.

President Obama: America is a Nation of Immigrants.

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