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  • Article: Understanding the Dangerous Implications of President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order By Walter Ewing For Immigration Impact

    Understanding the Dangerous Implications of President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order


    On January 25, President Trump signed a pair of immigration-related executive orders, one dealing with border security and the other with immigration enforcement in the interior of the country. The order on border security has received the most public attention—particularly the “great wall” that Trump is so anxious to build. But it is the other order that presents the greatest danger to unauthorized immigrants.

    The order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, effectively makes all unauthorized immigrant in the United States an “enforcement priority,” regardless of whether they entered the country without inspection or overstayed a visa, and irrespective of whether or not they have a criminal record. And the order ramps up efforts to find and remove unauthorized immigrants from the country by expanding the ranks of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and transforming more local police into immigration agents.

    This order is flawed at a number of levels. To begin with it is based on a false premise; that immigrants pose some kind of threat to native-born Americans. The order actually says:

    “Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”

    In reality, an enormous amount of evidence has accumulated over the past century demonstrating that high rates of immigration are associated with lower crime rates, and immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. In other words, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term.

    A second major flaw in this order is that it treats unauthorized immigration as if it were exclusively a law-enforcement issue and nothing more. It calls for 10,000 new ICE agents; agreements between the federal government and local police that would enable the police to act as immigration agents, and consider withholding federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” in which police don’t ask people about their immigration status so as to maintain trust with the communities they serve. This fails to recognize that unauthorized immigration is a symptom of a larger problem: an immigration system in which avenues for legal immigration are out of sync with the economic and social forces which drive immigration.

    A third key problem with this order is that it fails to establish any priorities for determining which immigrants to detain and deport first. The order states that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should prioritize the removal of any and all “aliens” who have been convicted of a crime, charged with a crime, or committed an act which could be construed as a chargeable crime—not to mention anyone who has crossed the border without permission or overstayed a visa. These priorities are defined so expansively as to be meaningless. Real enforcement priorities would zero in on violent criminals first—not unauthorized immigrants driving in a car with a broken tail light.

    In the final analysis, this executive order is little more than a crass form of immigrant-bashing. Unauthorized immigrants are stereotyped as criminals and treated as such. No consideration is given to the financial costs of new enforcement measures, the social costs of tearing apart U.S. families and communities in order to deport non-violent individuals, and the undermining of community policing by turning police into immigration agents. No matter how you look at it, this order is a disaster.

    This post originally appeared on Immigration Impact. © 2017 Immigration Impact. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

    About The Author

    Walter Ewing Walter Ewing, Ph.D., is Senior Researcher at the American Immigration Council. In addition to authoring numerous reports for the Council, he has published articles in the Journal on Migration and Human Security, Society, the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, and the Stanford Law and Policy Review. He also authored a chapter in Debates on U.S. Immigration, published by SAGE in 2012. Mr. Ewing received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School in 1997. Follow him on Twitter @WalterAEwing.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      "The order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, effectively makes all unauthorized immigrant in the United States an “enforcement priority,”

      That's right. He wants to deport every deportable alien in the United States. He makes that very clear in the Executive Order.

      "A second major flaw in this order is that it treats unauthorized immigration as if it were exclusively a law-enforcement issue and nothing more."

      That's right too. But that doesn't mean that Trump is opposed to immigration. He wants the law enforced, and he will do everything in his power to make that happen. Once that has been done, he will take a look at legal immigration issues. If you asked him, I think he would say that aliens who come here unlawfully do not provide any benefits to our country that can't be provided by aliens who come here lawfully.

      "A third key problem with this order is that it fails to establish any priorities for determining which immigrants to detain and deport first."

      Have you studied Obama's enforcement priorities memos? They are extremely complicated and they require high level supervisory approval before an officer is permitted to arrest an alien who is not in one of the priority categories. In other words, the field officers didn't have a clear idea of who they were supposed to arrest and they had to proceed at their own peril if the guessed wrong.

      For more information, see my article, Is DHS Enforcing Our Immigration Laws? (June 17, 2013),http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/outsidenews/archive/2013/06/17/nolan-rappaport-is-dhs-enforcing-our-immigration-laws.aspx

      In contrast, Trump's priorities are so broad and general that they are just very general guidelines. I think the message to the field officers is, "Every removable alien is subject to arrest and deportation. No exceptions. Try to get the "bad hombres' first, but don't come back from the field empty handed.

      Nolan Rappaport
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      The Roman poet Ovid, in the opening line of his immortal epic poem Metamorphoses, wrote 2,000 years ago:

      In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas/corpora. ("I will tell about about things transformed into new bodies.")

      In only one week, Donald Trump has taken major steps toward transforming a system based on the principle of welcoming qualified immigrants from all over the world, as we have had during the past half century, back toward a system of racial and religious exclusion based on hatred of unpopular immigrant groups, including but not limited to Latinos and Muslims.

      It is obvious that Trump intends to turn America into a land of fear and terror for millions of immigrants who are already here, as well as their families, employers, associates and communities, while at the same time excluding many millions more immigrants, not because of their personal qualification or histories, but solely because of the countries they are from or the religion they belong to. This is a clear throwback toward the fear, prejudice and overt racism of the infamous 1924 immigration law which barred most of the world's population from America's shores except for the "Nordic" inhabitants of northern and western Europe, who were considered to be of superior racial "stock".

      That was done under the long since discredited "Eugenics" theories of that time which had such a great influence on Adolf Hitler and which ultimately led to the murder of 6 million Jews and the deaths/enslavement of millions of other Untermenschen by the Nazis.

      (One difference - Trump is not likely to impose the kind of discriminatory immigration quotas against Russia and Eastern Europe which were a main feature of the 1924 immigration law. Few people would accuse him of that!)

      Moreover, Trump has done this as a dictator, using one-man decrees which, while authorized under our law, have been handed down from on high evidently without consultation or input from Congressional leaders or immigration officials, but based mainly, if not entirely, on his own personal animosities and those of a small inner circle of white supremacists and immigrant-haters whom Trump has surrounded himself with.

      To repeat: in one short week, by expanding the dragnet for deportation of unauthorized immigrants to the point where it would take a gulag like network of prisons and prison camps, similar to the one which Putin is planning to build in Russia, to hold all of the incarcerated men, women and children; and by barring refugees from all over the world from our shores ("temporarily" - ha, ha, ho, ho - who seriously believes that?); as well as by barring all immigrants from certain Muslim countries (a list which is also very likely to expand) Trump has taken major steps toward turning America from a nation of immigrants and a land of liberty and equality, into a land of fear, prejudice and hate, run by a despot.

      But this is only the beginning - things can, and probably will, grow exponentially worse unless the American people speak stand up for the values of freedom, tolerance and equality of all people which this nation was founded on, and speak out against the impending tyranny of one-man rule which has already started to take shape this week.

      I will conclude with a line from another 2,000 year old Latin poem, De Bello Civile ("On the Civil War") by Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan) who was forced to take his own life by the emperor Nero at the young age of 25.

      Iusque datum sceleri canimus ("I sing of infamy made into law.")

      There could not be a more apt description of Donald Trump's immigration executive orders this past week, as well as other, even harsher and more bigoted ones which could very likely come in the near future.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law

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