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Trump’s “Unprecedented Immigration Crackdown” Would Have Far-Reaching Implications for Millions

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Washington, DC Weeks after the chilling story from TIME detailed Trump and his allies’ mass-deportation vision and as attention continues to focus on the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 (see Niskanen Center analysis here), there is more concrete attention being paid to  the stakes and potential damage to the nation – for immigrants and all Americans. As coverage excerpted below highlights, Dreamers and others in long-settled and mixed-status families wouldn’t be spared as potential targets for deportation. 

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“A Donald Trump second term on immigration would cause incalculable damage to the nation – economically, morally, and through the lens of community and social fabric. Trump’s plan is to move beyond border management to go deep into American neighborhoods and eject people who have built lives and businesses and communities in the U.S. for decades. Trump’s promises to forcibly eject millions and shuttle them into deportation camps would leave millions of U.S. citizen kids behind, forcing them into foster care or the care of other family members and Trump has proposed to – or revoke their citizenship and eject them too. It is dark and devastating to contemplate, but it is not hyperbole. Dreamers, mixed-status family members, TPS holders and others deeply embedded in America will be targeted and the fear inflicted on American communities is also part of the point. The stakes and consequences are coming into focus and all of us who believe in a different version of America need to push back.”

Among renewed attention to the scale and scope of Trump’s destructive vision include:

  • Michelle Hackman and Andrew Restuccia in The Wall Street Journal, “Trump Allies Draw Up Plans for Unprecedented Immigration Crackdown”: “A cadre of former Trump administration officials, Trump supporters and conservative immigration wonks are writing executive orders, policy memos and other documents in a bid to transform campaign rhetoric into policy. The goal, the people said, is to be ready on the first day of a Trump presidency … for what the former president has said would be the largest mass deportation in U.S. history.”
  • As America’s Voice legal advisor David Leopold writes, the courts will not offer the same level of constraint on a second Trump deportation agenda as they did on the first. Leopold, past president, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Immigration Group Leader, Ulmer & Berne LLP, posted to the America’s Voice blog:The consequences of a politicized judiciary, particularly for undocumented immigrants, will be catastrophic. It’s not difficult to imagine immigration enforcement agents, working in tandem with their red-state (think Texas) counterparts, deporting people (including U.S. citizens caught in the chaos) across the border to Mexico without so much as a thought about their due process rights. Those families removed unlawfully may be able to return but only after long, expensive battles in the U.S. courts. Those who doubt that the Trump administration would act without regard to the law or court rulings are well advised to recall January 6, 2021.”
  • A Philip Bump analysis in The Washington Post, “The incomprehensible, unattainable scale of Trump’s deportation plan: “Imagine police going door-to-door in Queens, trying to determine whether the person with whom they are speaking is a citizen and, if not, whether that person is waiting for adjudication of their asylum claims or have U.S.-born kids. Imagine that person being arrested, put into a van, as the officer moves three buildings down the block or two floors up in the same apartment building. Imagine this happening in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Denver, Atlanta. Imagine the outcry on social media, from neighbors, from employers.”
  • An opinion column from Francis Wilkinson in Bloomberg, “Trump Could Be the End of the Road for Dreamers” highlights that even long-settled immigrants such as Dreamers wouldn’t be off the table from the promised purge: “Opposition to the Dream Act has always been the most clarifying element of US immigration politics. Moral arguments about immigrating “the right way” or “waiting in line” simply don’t apply. Many Dreamers arrived in the US before the age of 5. Were they supposed to lecture their parents on the proper mode of migration?… Dreamers may have long histories in America, but they have no place in MAGA’s color-coded vision of the American future. In the White House, Trump tried to phase out DACA. A lawsuit by Republican attorneys general currently seeks to strip DACA recipients of protections, which would place even this relatively small, marginally protected group among Trump’s targets for state aggression. Perhaps there is some small comfort for Dreamers in knowing that they aren’t alone. Trump’s list of targets grows longer each day.”

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