The Trump Administration continues to persecute long-settled immigrants, who are part of American families. This will go down as a dark and disgraceful chapter in American history. With Republicans unwilling to hold this Administration to account, it is left to those of us who still believe in an America that welcomes newcomers and who believe that doing so is a defining feature of who we are to raise our voices and denounce Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric, his “unshackled” deportation agencies, and his counterproductive policies and practices.
Below, we catalogue some of the most recent outrages. We follow with something this Administration cares little for: facts that show that smart community policing and smart welcoming policies add up to improved public safety. Finally, we highlight a “Trump County” that reaches out and respects immigrants in order to strengthen police-community cooperation.
Trump’s Ugly Vision for America
Asheville (NC) Citizen Times editorial, “ICE Tactics Leave Terror, Not Safety, In Their Wake”: “Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted raids across the state last weekend, and there may be more to come. More than 40 people were arrested in the state, about 15 of them in Western North Carolina. The tactics have stoked fear in the Hispanic community. “People are intimidated and don’t want to come out of their houses, not even to meet their daily needs,” said Bruno Hinojosa, leader of the immigrant advocacy organization known as CIMA … That sounds more like a broad sweep than a targeted exercise. No wonder immigrants are scared and their champions are outraged. Agents stop Latinos to ask them for the whereabouts of the people on their target list and then ask where they’re from. If they give the wrong answer they end up in cuffs, said Hinojosa.”
Jonathan Blitzer in The New Yorker: “An ICE Raid Has Turned The Lives of Hundreds of Tennessee Kids Upside Down”: Last week, Blitzer reported on how the recent raid of a Tennessee meat-processing plant was causing some local Trump supporters to question the Administration’s immigration policy. Today, Blitzer turns his attention to the effects on the local children who have now been separated from their parents (check out Catherine Shoichet’s recent CNN piece for another powerful read on the TN raid’s effects on kids). Blitzer writes: “One elementary-school teacher told me that her students were worriedly asking whether they, too, were going to be taken away. ‘They don’t all understand the full scope of what happened, but they know something happened, and they’re still scared,’ she said. The school district has brought in counsellors to speak with students. ‘The situation is certainly not normal,” the school superintendent, Jeffrey Perry, told me. ‘But we’re trying both to acknowledge the problem and to help students move on.’”
The Intercept: “How the Border Patrol Faked Statistics Showing a 73 Percent Rise in Assaults Against Agents”: Reporter Debbie Nathan recaps how CBP agents, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, have been juicing the stats to try and demonstrate that the border and related violence was out of control. Writes Nathan: “Rather than a picture of increasing violence against Border Patrol agents, what emerges from the FBI’s data is that the Border Patrol’s job has never been safer.”
Jorge Cancino in Univision: Immigrants Attempting to Legalize Their Status Are Instead Being Arrested and Deported: In a disturbing piece from one of the leading Spanish language journalists, Cancino highlights that more and more immigrants who qualify for green cards and are trying to legalize their status – are instead being arrested and deported by the Trump Administration’s DHS agencies.
San Antonio Express-News: “After Arrest of Valley Organizer, Immigrant Community Retreats to the Shadows”: “Chavez is a familiar face within the network of groups working in underserved neighborhoods along the border. Her arrest within a political environment increasingly hostile to immigrants, sent a chill through the Valley’s considerable immigrant population. Many immigrant families have retreated to the shadows, and the implications have rippled across a range of societal institutions. Fear is keeping some parents from enrolling their children in state-funded educational programs, or showing up for doctor’s appointments, activists say. With people narrowing their public activities to the bare minimum, neighborhood businesses have felt the pinch too.”
Newark Star-Ledger editorial, ”Will this N.J. teacher be deported by ICE, then hanged?”: The editorial in New Jersey’s largest newspaper writes: “Immigration agents have refused to say why they are moving to deport a New Jersey physics teacher and father of three – a man sentenced to death in Egypt. But Ahmed Abdelbasit says he knows exactly what will happen if he’s sent back. ‘The Egyptian government will not wait one minute to kill me,’ he told WNYC’s Matt Katz, on a phone from the Elizabeth detention center … When we asked ICE why they arrested this guy, a popular Union City private school instructor, at his Jersey City home a couple weeks ago, they cited unspecified ‘immigration violations.’ So rest easy. No need to know why they’re jailing him. Just be satisfied with what we know already: That ICE going after ‘bad hombres’ is a lie.”
The Real Facts
Dr. Tom Wong in the Washington Post: “Sanctuary Cities Don’t ‘Breed Crime.’ They Encourage People to Report Crime.” A new Post op-ed from Dr. Tom Wong of the University of California San Diego summarizes the findings of a detailed survey he conducted showing how local Mexican immigrants would change their behavior depending upon whether they knew local law enforcement would work with ICE on deportation raids. He writes, “…while Trump and others charge that these [sanctuary] policies ‘breed crime’ and protect criminals, supporters argue that sanctuary policies can improve public safety by making undocumented residents feel secure enough to cooperate with police — and therefore, make it easier for police to do their jobs….The research suggests that sanctuary policies do not in fact “breed crime.” What’s more, enlisting local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws can drive undocumented immigrants deeper into the shadows. Of course, that may be the administration’s goal.”
A Better Approach
NBC News Reports on How a Trump-Voting County in Florida Is Building Trust with Local Immigrants Instead of Spreading Fear: Jane C. Timm of NBC News reports on efforts underway in Volusia County, FL to “build trust in its immigrant community, which is vital to the local economy — even if that means defying Trump and Sessions.” She writes: “In 2016, Volusia County elected both Trump and a sheriff bent on restoring trust within the immigrant community. ‘Where does crime come from? Crime comes from when you marginalize a race or a religion and you knock them out of mainstream society,’ said Sheriff Michael Chitwood, a political independent who was sworn in the same month as the president. ‘When I first got elected, I went to every church and asked the pastors to trust me and said there’s a different way we’re going to do things.’ Chitwood said he instituted a new anti-profiling policy and began doing regular outreach at churches and schools, trying to convince the community that working with the police won’t end with a deportation.”
Said Lynn Tramonte, Deportation Defense Coordinator at America’s Voice:
“Trump views immigrants as a threat to his vision of who qualifies as an American. But most of us view Trump as a threat to our expansive idea of America — a nation founded on the revolutionary notion that people from all over the world can come together to build a society based on equality, opportunity and freedom. He aims to intimidate immigrants, reject refugees, and tell lies to justify the police-state tactics he is deploying. We aim to welcome newcomers so that they can become new Americans in a way that builds a stronger nation. For us, immigrants and refugees are integral members of our national family, and we are going to keep fighting until our vision is fully realized.”