Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Mark Morgan’s announcement that, following Trump’s tweets on mass deportation, the agency would focus on detaining and deporting undocumented families:
This is not about safety. This is not about priorities. This is about politics and sending a clear message that the administration is hellbent on terrorizing communities and reinstituting family separation, by any means necessary. Morgan even went so far as to admit his message to families fleeing violence, torture, and corrpution: ‘do not come.’ Do not try to protect your family or your own life – America will be worse.
These round-ups will purportedly target immigrants who failed to show up for immigration hearings. According to a new report from Syracuse University’s TRAC, more than 99% of asylum-seeking families show up to hearings, when they have legal representation (more on that here.) If the administration’s true intent is due process, as Morgan claimed, then they should provide lawyers to these families, not defund case management programs and afterwards target them for deportation, all to further their political interests.
So, then the answer is clear: deploy lawyers, not armed agents in tactical gear to terrorize families in the middle of the night. But this isn’t about solutions, due process, or effective government, it’s about President Trump, Stephen Miller, and the Trump campaign’s intent to wreak havoc on American communities, cause extreme fear and distress to immigrant families in order to send a message about deterrence, and generate maximum talking points for the next Trump rally — aided and abetted by federal agents like Morgan’s ICE officers.