Vaughan said the answer doesn't even matter. The issue is what we do with that small fraction of immigrants that is committing crimes and causing problems.
Trump repeatedly mentioned Steinle's death on the campaign trail. And during his State of the Union Address in January, he introduced the parents of two teen girls killed by undocumented immigrants allegedly belonging to the MS gang, an international gang formed in Los Angeles and mostly made up of Salvadoran immigrants.
He mentioned the MS gang four times, and said the word gang five times. O'Neil said immigration advocates have not been able to match the Trump administration's rhetoric when framing the immigration debate. She said Trump has been hammering the notion that immigrants are criminals, while Democrats and other immigration supporters have been unable to keep up. As a result, she said the public may associate immigrants with crime, leading to a stereotype that sticks. The way to counter that is to remind people of a very positive vision that lots of people have about immigrants.
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I thought there would be a rift in social lives, an us-and-them situation, but it was around that time that mephedrone happened. Known by literally no young person ever as "meow meow", mephedrone was a legal high that changed attitudes towards drug-taking. Mephedrone was incredibly cheap — about a tenner a gram — and incredibly available.
You could order it with next-day delivery to your university PO box. Mephedrone was a drugs phenomenon of which I have never seen the likes before or since. Everyone started doing it. I remember visiting a friend at Leeds University during this period. We went to a club and the queue for the men's bogs was at least 70 people long.
When I finally got inside the place stunk of mephedrone, you could hear everyone loudly sniffing. On nights out during this time, everyone would be raging — making out with one another, dancing with total abandon. But the comedowns were immediate and severe, far worse than ecstasy. By 4am people would be lying on the floor sharing the most intimate and personal shames and secrets, as if the drug was somehow compelling them to be honest.
Some people called it a truth serum.
Friendships were forged in the hot irons of that emotional exposition, as were the most horrendous hangovers. Mephedrone was banned within two years of it taking off.
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People talk a lot about one legal high being banned only for another to take its place, but the real legacy of mephedrone was to numb the stigma of harder drugs. By the time I left university, many of the drug abstainers who had tried mephedrone became relaxed about most illegal drugs, too. Ecstasy and mephedrone make it pretty hard to get much done in the days after taking them.
You can't regularly use them and be a successful, functioning adult, so they become a rarer treat once you leave student life. In their 20s most people are overworked: If they're going to go out on a Friday night they need a pick-me-up. And that is why cocaine remains the young professional's drug of choice. I see cocaine usage almost every weekend wherever I go: At fancy celebrity parties, the sort you see on Mail Online, cocaine is so prevalent that it's almost boring.
Everyone does it — butter-wouldn't-melt TV presenters, wholesome pop stars adored by your mum, people who would immediately lose their job if anyone found out.
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Those tabloid stings where they catch someone doing cocaine are kind of hilarious in that respect. If you followed any celebrity around with a secret camera on a Friday night you'd be almost guaranteed to find them doing coke.
But cocaine users are like hipsters in the way they will vehemently deny they are one, and cast aspersions on others. Most of my friends are cocaine users, but I've never heard them say one nice thing about cocaine. No doubt some people will have read this piece and think that I am just a monstrous twat, that this has all been little more than infantile boasting in a vain attempt to try to sound cool.
But that, too, is part of the cover-up, that any open discussion of using drugs or enjoying them is necessarily a boast. We can talk about great food, great films, great sex, but if we talk about great drugs we immediately sound like we're engaging in some teenage bravado.
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That's why the biggest taboo surrounding drugs today isn't taking drugs, but saying that they're fun. I'm not saying that people are lying about the negative effects. I have, of course, seen lives ruined by drugs. Rarely has this been because of an overdose or because someone has ruined themselves financially because of addiction although I am only 27 — that may yet come.