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While much of the opposition to the White House immigration proposal has been focused on the radical slashing of legal immigration levels and a border wall as wasteful and unpopular as it is insulting, little attention has been paid to how the White House’s immigration framework would turbocharge the administration’s strategy to deport undocumented immigrants without regard to their equities, contributions or families.
The White House plan would more than double the number of ICE agents; expand the grounds for deportation; and speed up the deportation machinery by both increasing the number of ICE attorneys and immigration judges and reducing the discretion of individual judges.
DHS’s goal is clear: get their hands on as many immigrants as possible and deport them as fast as possible.
To make matters worse, the Administration is attempting to cover its tracks by putting interior enforcement measures aimed at turbocharging its mass deportation strategy under the heading of “border security.” Just yesterday, DHS Deputy Secretary Elaine Dukesaid, per the Washington Examiner:
We used to distinguish between border security and interior enforcement. Now we’re lumping it all under border security … We don’t believe we can segregate and say we’re going to look at the physical border, even at the border, ports of entry, between ports of entry, and then the interior piece. That’s all part of the system.
The unprecedented aggressiveness and cruelty of the Trump administration’s interior enforcement strategy was underscored yesterday by two press reports.
The Associated Press reported that ICE is making official that it plans to conduct enforcement at courthouses throughout America:
Federal immigration authorities formalized a policy Wednesday to send deportation agents to federal, state and local courthouses to make arrests, dismissing complaints from judges and advocacy groups that it instills fear among crime victims, witnesses and family members.
HuffPost reported on comments by ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan that suggest he is auditioning to be the federal version of Arizona’s notorious Sheriff Arpaio:
“I’ll never back down on those words,” Homan said at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio, a conference that connects law enforcement with companies looking to win contracts. “If you violate the laws of this country, if you enter illegally ― which is a crime ― it’s not going to be OK anymore.”
“If we get a clean DACA bill, shame on all of us,” Homan said.
“I 100 percent support the wall,” Homan added.
And he characterized critics ― whether local officials, journalists or “people on the left” ― as unworthy of contradicting him on policy, unless they’ve worked in law enforcement.
“When they’ve seen what we’ve seen, then they can have an opinion,” Homan said, addressing himself to the immigration agents and officials in the room. “Until then, we’re going to enforce the law without apology. And I’m not going to stop talking.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice,
While much attention has been focused on the White House push for a border wall and historic cuts in legal immigration as part of its immigration plan, far too little attention has been devoted to the proposals aimed at deporting hardworking parents who have lived in America for many years and ripping them away from their U.S. citizen children. As we’ve witnessed throughout the country over the past year, the Trump Administration has been engaged in an aggressive drive to deport as many immigrants as possible – no matter their family ties or record of contributions to the United States. This includes people such as Amer Adi, the Youngstown, Ohio businessman and father of four U.S. citizen children who was deported this week despite Rep. Tim Ryan’s attempts to have ICE honor a deportation stay. And this is a key reason Dreamers are so opposed to the White House proposal: they reject a proposal that protects them but puts their parents, older siblings and community at greater risk of deportation.