Immigrants Across America Are Already Terrorized by Fears of Rampant Family Separations Designed to Burnish Trump’s Reelection Chances
In advance of President Trump’s official 2020 campaign kickoff rally last night, Trump tweeted about impending ICE immigration raids next week that would target “millions of illegal aliens” across America.
As the Washington Post reported about the renewed mass-deportation threat, family separations would be inextricably part of these proposed raids:
“The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend’s house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.”
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “We’ve come to this: President Trump, Stephen Miller, and the Trump reelection campaign think sending armed ICE agents into Latino and immigrant neighborhoods to rip families apart is good policy and good politics. The spectre of mass-deportation is designed to terrorize and to sow fear. Many of those at various levels in leadership at Homeland Security who reportedly expressed grave and well-founded fear that this would be a huge mistake with severe humanitarian, and logistical consequences, as well as turn into a PR nightmare for the administration, similar to the original family separation policy, have been purged in recent months. Now, with their new lieutenants in place, it’s clear the new Trump team is full speed ahead wants to deliver visceral images of raids separating families. The optics and collateral damage be damned, they think it would aid Trump’s reelection by drawing a sharp contrast with Democrats and burnishing the president’s strongman brand image. It’s a dark and cynical preview of what we will face throughout the 2020 election cycle.”
Notable reactions and denunciations include:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated: “The President’s new threat of a mass deportation dragnet is an act of utter malice and bigotry, designed solely to inject fear in our communities. This plan revives the horror of the President’s family separation policy, inflicting its inhumanity on countless hard-working families across America.”
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered floor remarks (video below): “This past week, I read in the New York Times a story of a four-month-old boy—it wrenched my heart— he was separated from his parents; a cleavage so severe at an age so young that the boy has suffered a great trauma … Stories like this are heart-wrenching; the policies that create them, unconscionable … So the president seems to just invent a new policy in the morning by tweet with the sole purpose of rallying his base. Ideas like deporting millions of immigrants inside our border have been dismissed by government officials in charge of immigration as unrealistic. The very people the president puts in charge says this policy can’t happen. It doesn’t bother him. Maybe he was doing this to talk about it at his rally tonight—his election rally in Florida. But I’ll tell you something, he tried this before the 2018 election—big crisis at the border—it didn’t seem to work. What appeals to a base, a rather narrow base, of the president’s supporters does not appeal to the American people, when it comes to being erratic, inhumane, harsh, and ineffective on immigration.”
- Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted about the potential harms to public safety: “Intentional societal disruption, creating mass fear, confusion, & panic is not good public policy or consistent with American Judeo-Christian values … This rhetoric will push many further into the shadows, & places an already marginalized segment of society at risk.”
- California governor, Gavin Newsom, tweeted that “Donald Trump’s inhumane immigration policies are a stain on our nation’s history,” and “CA will not allow this administration to intimidate our immigrant communities with mass deportations. We will stand up, speak out and defend the rights of all those in CA.” This is among many statements lifted up in Spanish language media from public officials — including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf — who tried to assure the immigrant community that they will look after them. Newsom even provided a link to the California Department of Justice page that lists available resources for immigrants.
- Spanish language media also tried to calm fears by explaining that Trump’s threat is part of his reelection strategy and even used Trump’s own public officials’ statements to explain that the massive deportations threat will not be easy to carry out. Univision.com, for example, headlines the story “ICE director reacts to Trump announcement “we don’t have the resources to deport 11 million people in a short period of time.”