According to “a senior Department of Homeland Security official,” there’s no need for immigrants to panic. The new policies announced Tuesday are really “not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations,” mainly because “We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses.” The plan, however, is to hire 10,000 more immigration agents so that they can implement new priorities targeting basically every undocumented immigrant. Except for DACA recipients. For the moment – there will be a new memo coming about them.
Vox summarizes the targets of the most recent Department of Homeland Security directives:
“Instead of focusing on deporting convicted criminals, the executive order tells ICE agents to focus on immigrants who’ve been convicted, charged, or “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” Those “offenses” include immigration crimes (illegal entry and reentry are both criminal offenses) and things that are part and parcel of living in the US as an unauthorized immigrant, like driving without a license.”
“[We] are now being told that the answer to our immigration enforcement challenges lays in eliminating any deportation prioritization policies of violent criminals over domestic violence victims, or hard-working immigrants who have lived in this country for years and have integrated themselves into the tapestry of our American society. It is irresponsible to treat a hardened criminal the same as an immigrant mother with children for purposes of deportation. These callous and xenophobic policies will not make our communities safe. “
This month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a domestic violence victim in the courthouse where she got a protective order. They arrested a DACA recipient in Seattle and another in Texas. They waited outside a church shelter in Virginia and scooped up immigrants leaving in the morning.
Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.) were told to leave a Congressional meeting with ICE acting director Tom Homan. The Hill reported:
“It was hard to not leave that meeting and believe that the Trump administration is going to target as many immigrants as possible,” [CHC chair Raul] Castro said. “The only hesitation they seemed to have was whether they would go after DACA recipients.” …
Pelosi said the way the administration handled the meeting — first postponing Tuesday’s gathering with the CHC, then refusing participation by certain Hispanic lawmakers — was “highly unusual.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “And hopefully never [will] again.”
Trump’s administration, like his campaign, is focusing on the most vulnerable people in the country, drumming up fear and hysteria against them. Think it doesn’t affect you? Aside from other considerations, remember the Martin Niemoller quote:
In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
What you can do:
- Join the organizers: NAVIGATE is sponsoring a training this weekend.
- Support organizations doing the work: Contribute to the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Advocates for Human Rights, and NAVIGATE.
- Follow the news: Every single day brings more news of this administration’s attacks on immigrants. I’m summarizing these on my Immigration News blog – you can subscribe there for a daily summary.