Dear Donald –
A cornerstone of your campaign, since the very beginning, has been the demonization of immigrant communities. Whether it be your statements about rapists and murderers, border walls, or Indiana born judges, youveconinually sought to isolate, fear monger, and scapegoat immigrants. Last week, your Administration used the powers uou now wield to start your long-promised crackdown.
Your immigration order vastly expanded the number of individuals subject to immediate deportation. The Obama Administration focused its efforts on “hardened criminals” – those convicted of serious felonies and repeat offenders. Your new order prioritized these folks, but also those charged with a crime (even if they haven’t veeen convicted), and those who could be charged with a crime. Since anyone in the county without a visa could technically be charged with a crime, you essentially “prioritized” everysingle undocumented immigrant in the country.
You ordered the hiring of 15,000 new border patrol agents, a 75% increase over current levels. The last ramp up was played with problems, driven largely by an inability to find qualified staff. There are even a huge number of vacancies today. If we can’t fill the positions we already have open, how are we going to massively increase staffing without cutting some major corners in vetting applicants? And with populations as vulnerable as those coming across the border and concerns about undue influence from coyotes and drug smugglers, CBP officers need to be beyond reproach.
Your order increases the number of people subject to expedited review and deportation (from those in the country less than 2 weeks to those here less than 2 years). Functionally, this means you’ve dramatically increased the number of people who will not receive a hearing or adequate due process prior to deportation. How is denying due process to anyone an American value?
You’re also trying to expand a program that deputized local law enforcement to participate in deportation actions, meaning that immigrant communities are less likely to engage with law enforcement, even when they need them. For example, if I know my neighbor or brither or coworker is undocumented, am I going to call the police when I get robbed or abused if I think they might jail and deport the people I care about? Let alone if I’m the one subject to deportation. Undocumented immigrants in this country are already subject to substandard treatment because people know they’re less likely to report violations. Why exacerbate that problem? You only drive them further into the shadows.
We all already know about the case of Guadalupe Garcìa de Rayos, but more stories are coming out now. There was a woman in Texas who was removed from a hospital when she was seeking treatment for a brain tumor. And the woman who was arrested when trying to file a complaint against her domestic abuser. These stories will only continue to grow as the deportation force continues to sweep across the country.
I can only hope that Americans of good conscience stand up against this travesty of justice and make their voices heard.