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The Trump administration likes to claim that their deportation priorities are “bad hombres” and cases like Daniela’s are exceptions that fall through the cracks. How many families must be torn apart before it becomes clear to everyone that a mass deportation agenda is in play, and it is indiscriminate?
As Yennifer Sanchez, the daughter of Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garcia – the Arizona man who was deported today – said, “I thought they were only taking people who had committed crimes. My father is not a criminal. Please, everyone, be aware. They are taking everyone.”
In an era of mass deportation, cities, localities, and local law enforcement agencies need to do as much as they can to protect immigrant residents and their families – because such policies make us all safer, because we need focused and targeted deportation priorities, and because ICE, currently, is not that pleasant to work with.
Miami-Dade County, its mayor, and its county officials are an example of how to do things wrong, after they caved to pressure from Donald Trump and struck down a county resolution that kept ICE agents out of county jails, for fear they’d lose federal funding.
Santa Ana, California, is an example of a city that is doing things right. As Lawrence Downes in the New York Times wrote today:
It is a city of 335,000, in the heart of Orange County, whose City Council has passed one of the boldest and most far-reaching sanctuary ordinances in the state…
The ordinance is duly respectful of the law, in a spirit that honors the Constitution and residents’ civil rights. It declares that none of its provisions are to conflict with “any valid and enforceable duty and obligation imposed by a court order or any federal or applicable law.” But it also makes clear that the city will not cooperate in any federal immigration dragnet. The feds may do what they will, but Santa Ana wants no part of it. It will not allow the use of city resources or personnel to assist in these efforts unless required by state or federal law. Nor will the city share “sensitive information,” protecting the privacy of its residents, whatever their immigration status.
Common-sense immigration ordinances keep a balance between focusing on “bad hombre” priorities – not creating a massive and unnecessary culture of fear where immigrants feel like they have to go into hiding or pick out guardians for their children in case they’re deported. Earlier today, the Denver City attorney said that at least four domestic violence cases had to be dropped because the witnesses were too afraid of deportation to testify — allowing the suspects to walk free. That’s why a group of 63 police chiefs and sheriffs from around the country this week published a letter saying that they don’t want their officers acting as federal immigration officers and don’t want to lose federal funding over that choice. As the letter states:
We believe that we can best serve our communities by leaving the enforcement of immigration laws to the federal government. Threatening the removal of valuable grant funding from jurisdictions that choose not to spend limited resources enforcing federal immigration law is extremely problematic. Removing these funds … would not fix any part of our broken immigration system.
The letter, tellingly, is addressed to the Senate rather than Trump, whom they’ve presumably given up on.