The Unsuspecting Victims of Trump’s Deportation Orders
The Trump administration released instructions implementing its mass deportation orders. The order describes a sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants, proclaiming that it would seek to swiftly deport many more people without court hearings and target migrants charged with crimes or thought to be dangerous, not just convicts.
The memos direct the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to begin hiring 10,000 agents and officers while the Customs and Border Protection agency hires 5,000 new agents.
One of the memos directs ICE to expand a program that allows local law enforcement agencies partnering with the federal government “to perform the functions of an immigration officer,” including “investigation, apprehension and detention.”
What most have failed to realize is that another victim of this administration’s ill-conceived immigration policy may well be our very own security. By casting such a wide net, rather than concentrating on the criminal element, and by recruiting local law enforcement to assist ICE, the administration is putting the safety of all Americans at risk. Here’s why:
I discussed this issue off camera a few years ago with an experienced LAPD Captain by the name of Sergio Diaz, that I had just interviewed on the Immigrant Archive Project. He was very much opposed to having local law enforcement carry out the tasks of immigration officers and he explained his position to me in simple, yet very direct terms. It was a conversation that I will not soon forget.
He began by asking if I had children. “I have three daughters,” I responded. He said, “Imagine for a moment, that one of your girls is abducted and the only witnesses to this crime are three undocumented men waiting to find work outside of a Home Depot.” The mere thought sent chills up my spine. Then he added, “We know statistically that the key to locating an abducted child is to have the crime reported immediately. With each passing minute, the chances of finding the victim alive decreases exponentially.”
He continued, “In this scenario, the likelihood of finding your child alive rests squarely on the shoulders of the three men I just described. Do these men feel comfortable in reaching out to the police or are they fearful that doing so will lead to their deportation? The answer to this question may determine whether or not we find your daughter alive. And this is why every member of our community has to feel comfortable in reaching out to our department. What’s at stake here isn’t just their security, but the security of our entire community,” he concluded.
We all know that a large part of the electorate voted for Trump because of his hard stance on immigration and not inspite of it. Today’s orders are proof that he is not only willing to live up to his campaign promises, but that he’s willing to be even more draconian than previously suspected. But at what price? Is it worth the pain and suffering his orders will cause the countless families who will be torn apart? Is it worth the loss of our national identity as a caring nation of immigrants? Is it really worth our own security? If the thought of families being separated, due process thrown out the window and mass deportation forces roaming the streets aren’t enough to turn you against these policies, perhaps reflecting honestly for a moment on my brief conversation with Captain Diaz will allow you to realize that these orders may impact you as well.