Chilling. We must pay attention to what is happening!
And we all must be courageous and care enough to stand
up for one another. We are all sisters and brothers.
We are all related. We all matter. - Molly
|Silvia Maceda, a native of Mexico who lives in Staten Island under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, at a march in New York, January 29, 2017. (Photo: Yana Paskova / The New York Times)|
Immigrant rights advocates and attorneys describe how, in his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump has coordinated an unprecedented crackdown on immigration, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into state attacks on undocumented immigrants and funded a brutal expansion of the US deportation infrastructure.
By David Palumbo-Liu, Truthout
In his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump has coordinated an unprecedented crackdown on immigration, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into state attacks on undocumented immigrants and funded a brutal expansion of the US deportation infrastructure.
The force and viciousness of this new immigration regime led even a federal court judge to remark on its inhumanity. In his opinion on one case, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court wrote, "The government forces us to participate in ripping apart a family … three United States citizen children will now have to choose between their father and their country."
Yet none of this is surprising. Trump has not broken stride in stoking the flames of hate and distrust -- even his comments on the Portland murders of two people who were defending two Muslim women against verbal abuse rang hollow and hypocritical. Both during and after his campaign, Trump set the stage for such incidents and even provided a kind of script for it. These new policies and practices are having immediate and often profound effects on the way immigration law is practiced at the grassroots level.
Ilyce Shugall, directing attorney of the Immigration Program at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, California, confirms the new intensity and aggressiveness of the Trump regime. She told Truthout that in immigration court, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of the General Counsel is opposing "essentially every motion -- basic motions for continuance are being opposed, motions for administrative closure or motions to terminate in cases of children who are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status are being opposed when those were routinely agreed upon previously."
This comes at a cost to both humanitarian principles and also to efficiency -- huge backlogs are being created as new immigration cases fill the system. Shugall fears that "Every case is suddenly going to have to be litigated, and every case is suddenly going to be a battle." She believes that the ICE attorneys have directives from above.
Lucas Guttentag, a professor at Stanford Law School who founded the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and recently served as a senior immigration advisor in the Obama administration, agrees. "I think we're going to see Attorney General Sessions taking much more aggressive action both on criminal prosecutions, which he's threatened, but also on reinterpreting the immigration laws and how they apply," Guttentag told Truthout.
He added that Sessions has certain authority in that respect and is likely to issue decisions that reinterpret the law in ways that "might not get huge attention right away but will have really, really pervasive consequences." For example, Guttentag said, Sessions could try to erode domestic violence as a basis for getting political asylum in the United States.
Guttentag's perception is that the Trump administration is also trying to gradually change the culture within the Department of Homeland Security. "Everything's gone out the window -- it's a free for all," he told Truthout. He explained that even though the Trump administration has retreated somewhat in the face of legal challenges to its sweeping orders, damage has already been done in the message sent to ICE and Customs and Border Protection officers.
Please continue this article here: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41054-contending-with-the-trump-regime-s-new-immigration-practices-a-dispatch-from-the-trenches