(CNN)The deportation force is here. According to new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos, the Trump administration plans to vastly expand the pool of undocumented immigrants in the United States who will be targeted for removal.
Virtually everyone who is in the country without documentation is now eligible for deportation, and some in an expedited fashion. These memos, signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly, were rolled out on Tuesday.
There are two memos at issue here; one dealing with interior immigration enforcement, and the other with border security. They provide a scary picture of what life will soon look like for the estimated 11 million
undocumented men, women, and children who live among us. But President Donald Trump’s deportations won’t necessarily make us safer, let alone “great again.” Instead they are a mixture of harsh new policies and questionable ideas from the past.
The most important thing to know about Trump’s deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can.
Although the President likened the recent round of immigration raids
to those carried out under Obama, these new memos specifically throw out Obama’s 2014 deportation priorities,
which were national security threats, dangerous criminals, and recent arrivals.
The border security memo also advocates for an expansion of “expedited removals,” a rushed process whereby people are deported without going before a judge. This would trample on the due process rights
of undocumented immigrants — protection they are guaranteed
under the Constitution.
It is true that Trump’s successful presidential campaign was centered on the mean-spirited idea
that all undocumented immigrants “have to go,” and he is now poised to make good on that promise. Yet most Americans did not vote for Trump, and most Americans do not favor mass deportations. A PRRI poll found that 79%
of Americans favor a path to citizenship or legalization for the undocumented, while only 16% favor deportations.
What’s more, when immigration enforcement ramps up, mistakes happen
. A University of California, Berkeley study
found that between 2008 and 2011, 3,600 US citizens were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through the Secure Communities program — a program Trump is bringing back
. Sadly, what Trump does not realize is that we don’t necessarily need more immigration enforcement; we need better immigration enforcement.
Trump’s immigration policies offer a troubling view of what lies ahead for immigrant families and their allies. For Latinos, this may mean a greater threat of racial profiling and the risk of being mistakenly caught up in enforcement actions. For all Americans, it marks a dark, disturbing chapter in our history as a nation of immigrants.
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/21/opinions/dhs-immigration-memos-reyes/index.html