In a letter to the County Board of Supervisors, Melissa Moreno noted that, last Monday, enforcement “seized and detained persons de-boarding lawfully from Mexico and El Salvador.
“Now that enforcement has gone beyond the scope of the designated nations of origin, it is imperative to protect all persons of color now targeted by this document and its enforcement,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, the Vanguard was forwarded the following information regarding ICE in Davis:
“Apparently, last week (an individual) went to the DMV in Davis to 1) pay for a ticket he had gotten and 2) apply for a drivers license.
“Sunday morning, 6am, ICE officials in plain clothes, driving a black truck, knock on his apartment door. He doesn’t know his rights. They take him away. Before they do, they demand to see the papers of his girlfriend in the apartment.”
The Davis Police could only confirm that, if ICE had been in town, they were not notified.
Some have argued that the impact of President Trump’s immigration executive order is more limited than originally feared. He has suggested it would only impact those immigrants with criminal records. But even if that were the case – the question remains, what is considered a criminal record? Would that include driving without a license? Would that include an illegal border crossing?
An article Saturday in the LA Times, paints an even more ominous picture, noting that when the President “ordered a vast overhaul of immigration law enforcement during his first week in office, he stripped away most restrictions on who should be deported, opening the door for roundups and detentions on a scale not seen in nearly a decade.”
The Times believes up to 8 million people could be considered for deportation according to their calculations, “based on interviews with experts who studied the order and two internal documents that signal immigration officials are taking an expansive view of Trump’s directive.”
Writes the Times, “Far from targeting only ‘bad hombres,’ as Trump has said repeatedly, his new order allows immigration agents to detain nearly anyone they come in contact with who has crossed the border illegally. People could be booked into custody for using food stamps or if their child receives free school lunches.”
“Deportations of this scale, which has not been publicly totaled before, could have widely felt consequences: Families would be separated. Businesses catering to immigrant customers may be shuttered. Crops could be left to rot, unpicked, as agricultural and other industries that rely on immigrant workforces face labor shortages. U.S. relations could be strained with countries that stand to receive an influx of deported people, particularly in Latin America. Even the Social Security system, which many immigrants working illegally pay into under fake identification numbers, would take a hit,” the Times reports.
They add, “The new instructions represent a wide expansion of President Obama’s focus on deporting only recent arrivals, repeat immigration violators and people with multiple criminal violations. Under the Obama administration, only about 1.4 million people were considered priorities for removal.”
Part of the issue is that the order itself not only targets “those convicted of crimes,” but in addition, those who are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”
According to the Times, that category expands the estimate from 3 million to 6 million people. The remainder of the 11 million in the country illegally “are believed to have entered on a valid visa and stayed past its expiration date.”
However, about 8 million of that 11 million hold jobs, which means they have worked “in violation of the law by stating on federal employment forms that they were legally allowed to work. Trump’s order calls for targeting anyone who lied on the forms.”
The Times also reports that the Trump administration is considering another executive order that “would block entry to anyone the U.S. believes may use benefit programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”
Writes the Times, “The changes reflect an effort to deter illegal migration by increasing the threat of deportation and cutting off access to social services and work opportunities.” This is what Mitt Romney in 2012 called “self-deportation.”
“It’s not that 6 million people are priorities for removal, it is the dangerous criminals hiding among those millions who are no longer able to hide,” said a White House official to the LA Times. They point to 124 who were released from immigration custody from 2010 to 2015 who went on to be charged with murder.
“We’ve gone from a situation where ICE officers have no discretion to enhance public safety and their hands are totally tied, to allowing ICE officers to engage in preventative policing and to go after known public safety threats and stop terrible crimes from happening.”
Then there is the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), where Trump is facing pressure from his base to end the work permit program to more than 750,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
“We’ve made it very clear that we’ll have further updates on immigration,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, though he did not give an update on the status of the work permits program. He added, “… the president has made significant progress on addressing the pledge that he made to the American people regarding immigration problems that we face, and I think we’re going to see more action on that in the next few weeks.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting