The Executive Order

Politicians are assuring us that there won’t be a deportation force out rounding up families. According to the Executive Order on Interior Security, there will be. Prior administrations prioritized who would be deported. The most recent, and very clear, prioritization under Obama set out how our limited resources should be spent, focusing mainly on people with criminal convictions. Trump’s order has made everyone a priority. He wants to add 10,000 officers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Once again, this is during a hiring freeze and quickly hiring and arming people, and giving them enormous authority, when it is impossible to thoroughly train them on the law first, is dangerous. Already, CBP and ICE combined is by far the largest law enforcement agency in the country, and adding a total of 15,000 officers make it that much larger. But it doesn’t stop there. His order deputizes every single law enforcement agent in the country as an immigration officer. This isn’t just asking jails to turn people over. This gives them the authority to arrest people in the streets upon suspicion that they’re undocumented. Do you know how to identify an undocumented person by looking at them? Neither do I, and I’ve been doing this for a long time. Deputizing law enforcement to enforce immigration law means there will be unlawful arrests of citizens, and it means there will be racial profiling. He prioritized everyone, but he specifically noted that the following groups are an enforcement priority: people who “have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved”; and “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” You deputize every police officer in the country, then allow them to arrest a person for any reason, and even if the charges are dropped, that person is a priority for removal. I’ve seen law enforcement detain a person – who wasn’t undocumented – for a traffic violation, hold that person till the traffic fine was paid, then turn that person over to ICE for processing. Two weeks in jail for a traffic violation. You can’t release an ICE hold until the person is in ICE custody, even with evidence that the person shouldn’t be held. Two weeks in jail, only to be released, because the person shouldn’t have been held in the first place. What happens to all the people rounded up under this policy? Anyone who cannot prove he or she has been in the United States for at least two years will be summarily deported without hearing. Gone. They might be prosecuted and fined first. The rest? Detention pending hearing? Sent to the border to the new detention facilities? Is this the best use of our resources?  Most of the undocumented live in mixed families. That means, say, a father is undocumented while the mother is a permanent resident and the children are citizens. Last I checked, that family is part of our country as well. These memos talk tough about protecting our communities, but if you deport that father? If at the end of the work day he doesn’t come home, and the family can’t find him or figure out what just happened? You’re not protecting that family.