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The Forest Through the Trees: Trump Deportation Numbers Obscure Cruel and Inhumane Reality

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Washington, DC – Reports that focus on the fact that the overall numbers of deportations under President Trump have declined compared to fiscal year 2016 lose sight of the forest through the trees.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

A key factor in this is the decrease in individuals crossing the border without authorization.   You can’t deport people who don’t exist.  Within the interior, though, Trump’s mass Deportation Force is proceeding full throttle, targeting caretakers, pregnant women, and cities they disagree with politically.  

Typically routine ICE ‘check-in’ meetings, where an immigrant would normally have his or her permission to remain in the U.S. renewed, have now become check-ins for deportation.  ICE and CBP have become a politicized police force.  Detention centers are being expanded and built, while treatment of immigrants on the inside continues to crumble.  

Immigration decisions are being made cruelly, denying immigrants’ basic humanity, and with zero accountability.  Despite Trump’s rhetoric about going after bad guys, deportation arrests of immigrants without criminal records have risen dramatically.  These are the future deportees.  

Any attempt to take ‘comfort’ in Trump’s supposedly lower deportation numbers needs to keep all of this in mind.  The state of immigrants in America today is not good, it’s terrified.  

Witness Pedro Hernandez, an Ohioan resident; taxpayer; father of four U.S. citizens and husband of a U.S. citizen; and primary caretaker for his eldest son, who suffers from severe intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy. For the past five years, Hernandez received stays of deportation, given his special, vital, and singular role within the family. This year, Pedro fell victim to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s silent raids.  Despite having a work permit valid until February 2018, he was deported yesterday in an obvious attempt to add to deportation totals before the government Fiscal Year ends.  Watch the heartbreaking livestream of his deportation here from the Chronicle Telegram.

Witness Monica, who was immediately arrested, detained, and scheduled for deportation at her annual check-in. Monica was four weeks pregnant at the time. As Betsy Woodruff of the Daily Beastreports, “One morning, after three weeks in detention, she began bleeding profusely. Immigration officers ignored her at first. But they finally took her to a hospital, where a doctor informed her that she had miscarried. Then they brought her back to the detention center again, where she was held until her family was able to pay $1,500 to bail her out.”

In addition to deporting people who used to routinely receive reprieves, Trump’s Deportation Force is also becoming frighteningly and increasingly politicized. This week, ICE targeted and raided so-called sanctuary cities and arrested 500 undocumented immigrants. As reported by the Washington Post, Matthew Albence, an executive associate director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, gave a clear, ominous warning of further retaliation raids to come: “If we need to go into these locations every week, we will go into these locations every week to remove these public safety threats.”

They like to lead with a list of criminals when they conduct raids like this, but scratching the surface reveals that many have simply committed immigration or status-related violations.  As theWashington Post reports, “The agency arrested more than 28,000 “non-criminal immigration violators” between Jan. 22 and Sept. 2, according to the agency’s records, a nearly threefold increase over the same period in 2016.”

The Trump administration’s obsession with sanctuary cities, as well as their lack of prioritization in immigration decisions, reveal that the administration is more interested in deporting immigrants than actually protecting the public from crime (read this overview as a reminder of why the anti-sanctuary city push undermines public safety).

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice Education Fund on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

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