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Make No Mistake: Trump’s Immigration Executive Orders Create a Deportation Force and a Blueprint for Mass Deportation

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President Trump’s radical immigration and refugee executive orders are unprecedented, dangerous, and contrary to core American values.

Despite assurances that Trump is simply building a wall and focusing on immigrant “criminals,” the details in the immigration executive orders, including the building up of a Deportation Force, make clear that just about all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America at risk of deportation. Even the rabidly anti-immigrant and pro-Trump outlet Breitbart agrees, noting that the Trump immigration executive orders are “much broader than expected,” and stating that the key deportation measures are “hidden in the details.”

All observers should be clear about the breathtaking sweep of Trump’s executive orders — and be prepared to condemn them.

How the Immigration Executive Order Creates a Blueprint for Mass Deportation

Former American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) President David Leopold assesses Trump’s Executive Orders in a new Medium piece and explains that, “Trump’s plan is a blueprint to implement his campaign promises of mass deportation, and it puts in place the Deportation Force to carry out his plan.” Less than a week into his presidency, Trump has thrown away any prioritization standard and put “parking tickets in the same category as murder.”

These policies go against the core American values and, if enacted, will cause chaos, heartbreak and severe damage to the economy. Leopold explains that the interior enforcement immigration executive order goes after:

“People convicted of any criminal offense, regardless of what the offense was, when it occurred, or the circumstances of the conviction;

People who haven’t even been convicted of a crime, but have been charged with one;

People who have have simply broken a law, with no charges or convictions resulting;

People with final administrative deportation orders, no matter how long ago they received the order and their positive ties and contributions; and

Anyone else Trump’s Deportation Force wants to prioritize.”

As Benjy Sarlin summarized in NBC News: “Trump’s executive order targets criminals as its top priority, but the language is so broad that it could include almost anyone in the country without legal status.”

Similarly, Roque Planas, writing in Huffington Post, assesses: “Buried in President Donald Trump’s executive order for a crackdown on so-called ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions, signed Wednesday, is his administration’s first official statement of which undocumented immigrants it will classify as a deportation priorities. The short answer is: almost anyone.”

And John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE, tells Politico: “That’s going to sweep up a lot of families, a lot of folks who have children, a lot of folks who have been here a long time.”

Don’t Fall for the Trump Strategy on Immigration – The Wall is Not the Main thing, Mass Deportation Is

As America’s Voice Education Fund Executive Director Frank Sharry explains, Trump’s radical executive orders, and their rollout, are part of a larger strategy from Trump and his nativist advisors dating back to last summer.  To many in the political class, Trump is just being a tougher version of Obama. To policy experts, Trump just laid out a plan to put just about all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation and to ban millions of Muslims.

Beginning when Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway came on board the Trump campaign last summer, Trump made a number of moves on immigration policy. This is how the strategy has unfolded, from then until now:

Have Trump talk about border security (the wall), prioritizing criminals and extreme vetting to get away from talk of mass deportation and the Muslim ban, with the goal being to get the political class to buy the idea that Trump was “softening” his positions

Give a speech in Phoenix in late August that was carefully written to both con the political class about “the softening” while doubling down with his nativist base on actual policy

Keep the fiction alive that Trump was just a tougher version of Obama, then once in the White House lower the boom with a series of executive orders that initiate the most hard-edged policies — while continuing to package the radicalism in normalizing rhetoric

Continue to fool the political class by waving the shiny object of a stupid border wall (will Mexico pay or not, ask the pundits?), pretend that the prioritization in the executive orders still mean criminals first (when in fact the orders eviscerate any and all priorities), build up his Deportation Force by tripling the number of ICE agents, and then, under the guise of “extreme vetting,” end the Syrian refugee program, suspend and then shrink the refugee program (while shifting its focus to Christians), and ban many Muslim visitors without ever once using the word “Muslim.”

Hardliners get what they want – open season on immigrants through a blueprint for mass deportation and a ban on millions of Muslims – and the political class doesn’t get it.

The stakes are high. President Trump is taking a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty and threatening one of the defining aspects of the American experience – welcoming immigrants and rescuing refugees.


David Leopold’s Medium piece, “Trump’s immigration Executive Order is a blueprint for mass deportation”: 


Center for American Progress/National Immigration Law Center study showing that “sanctuary cities” actually are safer and have stronger economies: 


 National Immigrant Justice Center’s (NIJC) annotated version of the executive order document, featuring NIJC’s analyses, relevant facts, and links to useful resources: http://immigrantjustice.org/research-items/annotated-interior-immigration-enforcement-executive-order?q=research-items/annotated-immigration-enforcement-executive-order

Women’s Refugee Commission Backgrounder: 10 Things to Know about How Trump’s Executive Order will Harm Women and Children Seeking Protection: http://wrc.ms/10ThingsOnImmigrationExecutiveOrders

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) video featuring AILA Director of Advocacy, Greg Chen explaining implications of executive orders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GMgpIEOX0s