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Recent Washington Post stories capture two devastating consequences of the Trump Administration’s mass deportation vision and implementation: undocumented parents of millions of U.S. citizen children are trying to plan for their potential separation due to deportation; and police departments across America are reporting a disturbing drop in crime reporting due to immigrants’ fear of the police.
Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said:
Instead of focusing on high-priority deportations, the Trump Administration is going after anyone and everyone they come across, sending the message that all immigrants should live in fear. The consequences for this radical shift in policy are devastating. When kids say goodbye to their parents at school drop-off, they don’t know if today will be the day that mom or dad isn’t there to pick them up. When some community members are victims of crimes, they may remain silent instead of reporting it to the police.
The Trump mass deportation policy doesn’t enhance community safety, it undermines it. The consequences are entirely predictable, and the damage to children, families, and public safety is also entirely preventable – if Secretary Kelly did what he claimed to be doing and focused enforcement on common sense priorities.
Maria Sacchetti of the Washington Post highlights how undocumented parents, fearful that their families will be separated, are taking heartbreaking steps to ensure that their children will be taken care of in the event of their deportation:
…It is a question thousands of undocumented immigrants are asking across the United States, in the apple orchards outside Spokane, Wash., the blueberry fields near Grand Rapids, Mich., and at churches and community centers in Maryland and Virginia.
On Spanish-language television and online, immigration lawyers and foreign consulates are responding to a widely publicized immigration crackdown by the Trump administration, and urging undocumented parents who could be deported to leave clear instructions for their bank accounts, real estate holdings and — most of all — their children.
About 5.1 million children in this country have a parent who is here illegally, according to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute. Nearly 80 percent of those children are U.S. citizens.
Hector Quiroga, a Spokane immigration lawyer, said that after Trump took office his call volume peaked at 300 calls a day from people seeking to protect their children and assets. He hired three new secretaries, but could not keep up. Then he posted the instructions for selecting a guardian online. The video had been viewed more than 35,000 times. ‘People are petrified,’ Quiroga said. ‘They’re desperately trying to get these documents.’
Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post highlights how a number of police departments across the country are seeing troubling signs that some Latino residents are trying to limit their interactions with police due to immigration enforcement fears. This means crimes are going unreported, witnesses are harder to come by, and public safety for all is threatened:
Police departments from California to New Jersey have reported a decrease in crime reporting in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, which some local law enforcement officials believe could be related to the nation’s impassioned immigration debate. Law enforcement officials say the debate might be affecting their relationship with minority communities, and they are especially concerned that undocumented immigrants are becoming more hesitant to engage with police and report crimes because they fear deportation.
‘It looks like they’re going further into the shadows, and there appears to be a chilling effect in the reporting of violent crime by members of the Hispanic community,’ Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. Acevedo recently announced that new data shows a 13 percent decrease in violent crime reporting by Hispanics in Houston during the first three months of 2017 compared to the first three months of 2016; it also shows a 12 percent increase in violent crime reporting by non-Hispanics
… ‘The reason police chiefs are so concerned is that an unreported domestic violence case can become a reported homicide if police are not alerted,” [Police Executive Research Forum President Chuck] Wexler said. “It’s only a few months since the national perspective has changed, but I think most police chiefs would agree that for those who have large immigrant communities, this will definitely make them reticent about interacting with the police if they’re involved with witnessing a crime or are a victim.’