Obama was notoriously called America’s “deporter-in-chief” for conducting sweeping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids nationwide – expelling record numbers, more than all his predecessors combined.
He largely targeted undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans, averaging over 1,000 deportations daily – people in the United States because destructive NAFTA and DR-CAFTA trade deals destroyed their jobs at home, or sought asylum from domestic violence and chaos.
Trump appears bent on exceeding Obama’s viciousness. Thousands of new ICE and border patrol agents are being hired. Stepped up sweeping raids will follow, more than already.
Family members will be separated, including spouses from each other and children from parents.
Under new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines, ICE agents have broad latitude to arrest and detain undocumented and legal immigrants with offenses on their record as minor as traffic violations or alleged long ago inconsequential misdemeanors.
New guidelines cover interior and border enforcement. Immigrants of color have cause for concern, especially Latinos.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, over half of nearly two million immigrants legally in America have past offenses on their records – in many cases minor infractions or wrongful charges.
US prisons hold mostly nonviolent offenders – either wrongfully convicted, incarcerated for illicit drug related charges, or other minor ones most developed countries punish by small fines or community service, not hard time locked in cages.
DHS guidelines prioritize deporting immigrants who’ve allegedly abused public benefits, or “in the judgment of an immigration officer,” misrepresented themselves or “otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”
ICE agents are being given sweeping authority to target, arrest, detain and abuse immigrants for their ethnicity and race ahead of mass deportations.
Millions are vulnerable to police state mistreatment. DHS will “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”
The Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither US citizens nor lawful permanent residents.
“…ICE is committed to arresting and processing all removable aliens.” Many details remain to be determined. Roundups and deportations will be expedited.
Expect lots of immigrants to be harmed, including many here lawfully, because sweeping arrests grab legal and undocumented individuals alike, besides separating family members.
How dozens of so-called sanctuary cities will be affected remains to be seen. Their authorities refuse to help round up undocumented immigrants.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals still protects them from deportation – young people referred to as Dreamers.
Trump promised an enhanced get tough on immigrants policy. Millions potentially are vulnerable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2017