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Washington, DC – The Trump Administration’s blueprint for mass deportation, laid out in detail by this week’s DHS implementation memos, are set to be cruel, chaotic and costly. Trump’s radicalism on immigration has plunged millions of families into crisis, caused confusion, division and fear throughout America and the world and are unpopular with the American public. President Trump’s unfavorables are highest on immigration, which is unsurprising, given that the American public supports legalization over deportation by clear and consistent margins between 3:1 and 4:1.
Below, we highlight some of key pieces and voices regarding the dramatic developments of recent days.
Law Enforcement Voices Highlight How Doing ICE’s Work Harms to Crime-Fighting
A new story from Liz Robbins in the New York Times highlights the worry of law enforcement voices that key implementation details of Trump’s mass deportation strategy would hurt, not help, police efforts to fight crimes and gangs:
“‘The last thing I want is a fearful community,’ the Suffolk County police commissioner, Timothy Sini, said in a recent interview. ‘Whether it’s fear of criminals or fear of law enforcement. We solve crimes based on people coming to us. It’s that simple. If people think they’re going to get deported every time they speak to a police officer, it’s not helpful.’
Part of the issue is that Mr. Trump wants local police officers to act as immigration agents, threatening to withhold federal funding from those departments that do not cooperate. So Mr. Sini is far from alone in trying to balance public safety with the threat of losing millions of dollars in funding. Last month, the International Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement saying that it would ‘strongly oppose any initiative that would mandate that state and local law enforcement agencies play a role in the enforcement of federal immigration law.’”
In Houston, TX, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced that the county will opt-out of the 287(g) program, an effort to involve local law enforcement in federal immigration enforcement.
As Sheriff Gonzalez made clear on MSNBC last night, this would hurt his mission to police the community and solve crimes:
“[I]t really concerns me to see that kind of fear happen in communities. To me it leads to more mistrust of police at a time when we need to be growing more trust, more collaboration with communities to solve local crimes … I’m going to focus on what’s best for the men and women of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office as well as what I can do each day to make sure the residents of Harris County are safe.”
Conservative Voices Speaking Out Against Mass Deportation Blueprint
A new Wall Street Journal editorial, “Trump’s Deportation Surge,” states:
“President Trump campaigned on enforcing immigration law, and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly plans to deliver. On Tuesday Mr. Kelly ordered a deportation surge that will cost billions of dollars and expand the size and intrusiveness of government in ways that should make conservatives wince. In a pair of memos the Secretary fleshes out the Administration’s immigration priorities to protect public safety. By all means deport gangbangers and miscreants. But Mr. Kelly’s order is so sweeping that it could capture law-abiding immigrants whose only crime is using false documents to work. This policy may respond to the politics of the moment, but chasing down maids and meatpackers will not go down as America’s finest hour.”
Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy and former Republican Senate staffer and INS official under George W. Bush, writes in Forbes, “If It Sounds Like A Deportation Force…”:
“All the available evidence indicates the goal is to deport as many of the 11 million people in America without legal status as is humanly and logistically possible. Earlier guidance from the Obama administration focused deportation efforts against more serious criminal threats. It also provided a list of factors, such as family and community ties, that would place individuals low on the priority list for deportation, given limited resources
…Some will like the new policies on deportation, while others will hate them. Either way, the evidence indicates Trump administration officials are focusing not on removing serious criminals but on deporting potentially all 11 million people in the country without legal status – and they are preparing a deportation force to do it.”
New Polling Shows Unpopularity of Trump Hardline Approach to Immigration
A new CBS News poll finds that President Trump’s approach to immigration is extremely unpopular. Among four issues tested,Trump’s highest disapproval rating is on immigration, where his favorability is underwater at 39% approve and 55% disapprove. The CBS poll also finds that 73% of Americans support a form of legalization for undocumented immigrants (60% citizenship and 13% legalization without citizenship) while only 23% support requiring undocumented immigrants to leave the country.
The president’s immigration disapproval makes sense in light of the public’s overwhelming preference for legalization instead of deportation. In a recent piece in The Atlantic, titled “Not Even the Reddest States Support Deportation,” Dr. Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) highlighted how PRRI’s massive-sample polling research found that Americans support a path to legal status over deportation by 79% – 16% and that only 28% of Republicans favor deportation.
A range of other recent polling found the same thing as PRRI: recent polls from Quinnipiac, Pew Research, New York Times/CBS, Washington Post/ABC News, CNN, and Gallup each found that between 72% and 88% of Americans back either citizenship or legalization for undocumented immigrants over deportation. Even an Oct 2016 poll from Fox News found support for legalization over deportation by a 74%-18% margin.
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