As part of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which centered on “Mak[ing] America Great Again,” there were numerous promises to keep unwelcome visitors at the borders, and to push undocumented residents across them again. While the Trump Administration’s controversial travel ban has been blocked by a federal court for now, the plan to remove undocumented immigrants seems to be moving ahead. A fact sheet recently released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave some more details on how Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will ramp up its efforts to complete raids and deportations. It also made clear that while dangerous or criminal undocumented immigrants would be the focus of the agency’s efforts, they would not be the only ones eligible for arrest and deportation.
The DHS is also eyeing the idea of reinforcing local law enforcement agencies with the authority to carry out duties similar or identical to ICE agents, as well as provide more training to complete these new tasks. This would essentially be the reuse of a previous program called 287(g). If it is reinstated, the DHS is expected to focus its efforts on regions around the southern border of the United States.
Early Signs of Deportation Trouble
But this notion of turning police officers into part-time ICE agents is just one of many points of contention that could jeopardize the Trump Administration’s deportation plans overall. There have already been many directors of law enforcement agents around the country, most notably around the greater Los Angeles area, that oppose the idea of taking on ICE duties. Criticism from these groups is based on the fact that there is no promise of additional compensation for additional work, but some have been vocal enough to show that there is opposition to the thought of raiding their own neighborhoods to conduct deportations.
Many cities around the country, including a concentration in Massachusetts, are standing in the way of ICE as well by electing themselves as “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants. A sanctuary city is one that would openly refuse to cooperate with ICE and the DHS to track down undocumented immigrants, and that may also establish “safe zones” or safe houses within the city to provide shelter for undocumented immigrants who fled their homes. In response to the sanctuary cities’ agenda, threats have been issued by President Trump to revoke federal funding until cooperation by those cities is granted.
Is Mass Deportation Even Possible?
In addition to the not-so-silent opposition against mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, the notion in itself carries many difficulties. President Trump mused the plan of deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants throughout most of his campaign trail but has since turned his focus towards only those with a criminal record. This might be an admittance by the administration that 100% deportation is unlikely. In a twist of irony, deporting a criminal undocumented resident would naturally be more difficult than deporting those who do not actively hide from the law but attempt to live law-abiding lives.
As Clearwater immigration lawyers, our team at K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. are interested in how the ongoing immigration and deportation news stories pan out. Be sure to keep an eye on our blog for critical updates. You can also contact our firm if you need help with an immigration law case of your own in Florida. We have been helping clients throughout the region with difficult cases and claims for more than 20 years.