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

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

    by


    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.


    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 -
      All this is true enough, but why are so many expert analysts reluctant to talk about the real purpose to Trump's executive orders (and related immigration actions), which is to get the message across to Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern and African/Caribbean immigrants that they are no longer welcome in Donald Trump's America? The anti-immigrant bigots who carried torches and signs with Nazi-slogans in Charlottesville know what they want; that is why they voted for Donald Trump and his immigration agenda.

      If immigrant advocates expect to oppose this agenda successfully, they at least have to speak out and make sure that the American people understand what Trump's real agenda is - namely to undo or repeal the 1965 reform law which has been the basis of America's immigration system for the past half century, and take this country back in the direction of the bigoted white supremacist northern Europeans only Johnson-Reed immigration act of 1924 (which Adolf Hitler so admired for its underlying racial theories, and which Jeff Sessions, who is now Trump's AG, also praised - for ostensibly different reasons - in an immigration "Handbook" that he wrote as a Senator in 2015, 9 decades later).

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Walter says, "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."

      That's one way to look at it. An alternative would be to say they are here illegally and section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires the Attorney General to remove them from the United States.
      https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/...html#0-0-0-246

      The problem is that the Democrats agree with Walter but the Republicans think the law should be enforced. And the Republicans control the Congress and the White House. Any guesses on which side will prevail if the Democrats continue to demonize the Republicans instead of trying to work something out with them?

      Nolan Rappaport
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