America's Voice En Español »

America's Voice

 

This is What Mass Deportation Looks Like: 2018

 

Today, the Trump Administration ended temporary protected status (TPS) for Salvadoran immigrants, impacting 200,000 people who have lived in the US for decades, held jobs, and paid taxes.

Contrary to popular belief and general misunderstanding, TPS holders are not undocumented. They’re immigrants who were already in the US at the time a catastrophic event – usually a natural disaster – happened in their home country. TPS exists to prevent these immigrants from having to go home to countries in turmoil, that are ill-prepared to receive them.

TPS for El Salvador was first designated under the George W. Bush Administration and then extended through the Obama years. The Salvadoran immigrant-Americans who received it have now lived in the US through three presidential Administrations, putting down roots, starting families and having US-born children, working and contributing to their communities and paying taxes.

Trump Administration is “de-legalizing” immigrants

And now, the Trump Administration wants to expel them, along with hundreds of thousands of Haitians and Nicaraguans whose TPS status DHS has also cancelled.

There is a trend here where the Trump Administration is, in essence, de-legalizing immigrants who have been here for decades. We see this in TPS holders, who have lived and worked here for years but will now be forced to leave, unless Congress takes action.

We see this in the Dreamers, who since the advent of DACA have also been allowed to live in the US without fear of deportation and legally work. The Trump Administration ended DACA last September, and is slowly forcing these young people back into the shadows.

And we see this in the “silent raids” that have taken away immigrant mothers and fathers. We’re referring to the moms and dads of US-citizen children who have been checking in with ICE for years, whom ICE (under previous Administrations) allowed to stay and gave work permits to because these immigrants weren’t priorities for deportation. Under the Trump Administration, ICE has been calling these parents in and removing them, separating them from their families.

The Trump Administration may rail against undocumented immigrants, but it’s in effect creating them by the hundreds of thousands, out of immigrant-Americans who previously had permission to stay and work.

Trumps’s nativist agenda

The even more significant context here is the fact that the Trump Administration has been laser-focused on implementing a white nationalist agenda when it comes to immigration. Whereas they spent much of last year stymied by Obamacare and other legislative efforts, on immigration, the Administration has been forcefully pushing extremist policies that aim to change the long-term demographics of the United States. This includes Trump’s implementing of various Muslim bans, targeting of cities that have policies friendly to immigrants, cutting down on refugee admissions, changing policies for asylum-seekers coming to our southern border, cancelling TPS, rescinding DACA, and much more.

The Administration already has even more plans underway for 2018. From changes to the H-1B visa program to administrative closure, here’s how immigration attorney David Leopold has summed it up:

And you can be sure these ideas are the most extreme of extremist ideas, because the Trump Administration is being led by the likes of senior adviser Stephen Miller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who are in turn, deeply connected to anti-immigrant hate groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These hate groups  — started by a white nationalist – are supplying ideas and policies to the Trump White House, which is giving them access even though previous Administrations have known better than to take them seriously. The Trump Administration wants to make America white again – and not coincidentally, that’s the goal of groups like CIS and FAIR as well.