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Having Created Mass Failure at the Border, Now He Wants to Add to the Chaos
The New York Times and others are reporting that neighborhood immigration raids will begin Sunday. Trump threatened to launch massive immigration raids in the U.S. after July 4 and now in cities across America, immigrant families and community allies are bracing for ICE raids, which will target immigrant families, especially Central American families with orders of removal and children who entered the U.S. as unaccompanied minors and have since turned 18. However, as we know from past experience, ICE will incarcerate anyone they encounter at the addresses they go to who cannot immediately prove legal status.
While awaiting additional details about the Orwellian-named ICE “family operation,” we already know a few things with confidence:
The Trump administration is in campaign-mode and wants to flex its muscle on immigration enforcement to bolster the President’s brand and make good on the Tweets he sent on the eve of his campaign launch in Orlando last month. Those raids were canceled, but Trump has continued to bluster about “millions” being deported. While the actual scope of the raids is estimated to be in the thousands, not millions, the goal of acting tough to support the Trump reelection campaign remains the main point.
In addition to firing up the deport-’em-all segment of the President’s base, sowing fear in immigrant communities is also a key goal. Deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants – or even “millions” – is patently unrealistic, but instilling fear and triggering “self-deportation” is the strategy the President and key lieutenants have adopted. It is a disturbing indictment of this administration that sowing terror in American communities over potential family separation is seen as a worthy pursuit. See more in Sunday’s Washington Post story, “Fear of immigration raids looms as plans for ICE ‘family operation’ move forward,” highlighting that the threatened deportation raids are already having the desired effect on immigrant families.
In communities large and small, immigrant advocacy organizations, attorneys and civil rights groups – joined in some cases by mayors and local officials – are helping organize immigrant communities, arm families with the tools to assert their rights if ICE knocks on their door and enlisting community allies to film and document any enforcement operations they witness. The ACLU’s know your rights materials, for example, are available in English and Spanish.
An already failing and overburdened detention system cannot accommodate thousands of new families and children, but Trump plans to plow ahead regardless of the human rights consequences. The human rights crisis Trump has sparked and worsened at the border, the overcrowding and cruel treatment, the denials from the highest levels of government that there even is a detention crisis – all of these will be made worse when Trump’s “family operation” moves forward.
When Trump has been confronted by the revelations of the Robert Mueller investigation, he turns to attacking immigrants and Latinos as his go-to distraction to change the headlines, and guess what…Mueller is testifying before Congress next week (July 17).
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice, “The President and his new team of immigration ‘tough guys’ want to show how tough they are, but the political motivations are brazen and the cruelty that will be inflicted by neighborhood ‘family operations’ will be widely felt in American communities. The massive and glaring failure of the Trump approach on immigration gives this deportation operation the smell of desperation. Intentionally sowing fear in American communities, detaining families and children, separating parents from their kids and overburdening an already crumbling detention network just underline the lengths this President will go to look like a strongman, regardless of – or perhaps because of – the violations of human rights and cruelty it will foster.”