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Former Acting ICE Director John Sandweg & Immigration Experts Provide Insight Into Immigration Policy and Practice Under The Trump Administration

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A recording of today’s event is available here

From day one of his presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump promised broad action on immigration reform. In the past six months, we’ve witnessed a fulfilled promised as Trump and his Administration have made sweeping and unprecedented changes in immigration policy. The changes have reverberated at the local level as enforcement forces have become “unshackled” and arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records have skyrocketed. From the expansion of a speedy deportation procedures, to the targeting of parents of unaccompanied minors, to possibly eliminating the current legal status of over a million people (DACA and TPS), this Administration is writing a new playbook on immigration policy.

Given the unusual times, immigration experts and attorneys joined former acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Sandweg to explain the strength and scope of the law and policy that is the undergirding of Trump’s agenda. A recording of today’s event is available here.

Greg Chen, Director of Government Relations, American Immigration Lawyers Association, said:

Last night, by including $1.6 billion for a wasteful and ineffective border wall in the national security spending package, the House Republican leadership was in lockstep with President Trump’s mass deportation agenda, which is all about scapegoating immigrant communities and has little to do with protecting our nation.  With control over both chambers of Congress, the Republican party has the opportunity to enact real reforms to the immigration system that strengthen the United States, but instead they are advancing measures that will ensure the deportation of even more families, Dreamers, and others who have strong ties to this country and are contributing to its future prosperity.

David Leopold, Partner/Chair, Immigration Practice Group, Ulmer & Berne LLP and former President, American Immigration Lawyers Association, said:

We are seeing daily raids – daily, silent raids. Immigrants with no criminal records – mothers and fathers – are coming in for their mandated ICE check ins, doing all they can to comply with the law, and still being deported. Witness Jesus Lara – an Ohioan father, taxpayer, and husband – deported last week without so much as a blink of an eye from DHS Secretary Kelly.

Greisa Martinez, Director of Advocacy and Policy, United We Dream, said:

Right now, Texas Attorney General Paxton and Attorney General Sessions are trying to corner the President into ending the DACA program by September 5th. But our community is determined to stop them because this is our home and we are here to stay. The introduction of a bill does not protect any of us from deportation. That is why we must fight to keep the protections we have today like DACA and TPS, because any gap in protection could be deadly and any gap in our ability to work would be devastating. And while we work to advance our cause, we will oppose efforts to strengthen the deportation agents.

Avideh Moussavian, Senior Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center:

As a candidate and in office, President Trump has made clear his mission to demonize and slam the door on Muslims. Despite numerous courts around the country unequivocally calling out the Muslim and refugee ban for its discriminatory, Islamophobic intent, the Supreme Court allowed part of the ban to move forward. But the American public – those who rushed to airports, who have spoken out against the ban and urged others to do so – is watching and has made it clear that they are willing to stand up to Trump’s Muslim ban because it betrays our values, our Constitution and our belief in religious freedom. 

John Sandweg, former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and former Acting General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, said:

The Trump Administration is focused on removability – how many people can we get and how fast can we remove them. This forces agents to focus on the lowest hanging fruit, including people who were ordered removed years ago, but were not removed because of humanitarian reasons. The problem with pushing for quantity is that it creates a disincentive to arrest individuals on public safety grounds – which take more time and resources. This allows criminals to remain at large because their arrest and deportation would take longer and would hinder the goal of setting a record number of removals.