- Eli Kantor
- Beverly Hills, California, United States
- Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Los Angeles Times
By Cindy Carcamo, Kate Mather and Dakota Smith
November 15, 2016
Scores of communities across California and the nation over the last decade have declared themselves "sanctuary cities," a politically potent if largely symbolic designation aimed at expressing solidarity and granting protection for immigrants in this country illegally.
During the Obama years, becoming a sanctuary city came with few consequences because the White House pushed for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for many here without proper documentation.
But with President-elect Donald Trump vowing to deport millions of immigrants, the role of sanctuary cities is likely to get more complicated and controversial.
Trump made illegal immigration a central issue of his presidential campaign, vowing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, deport people who are in the country illegally and unwind immigration relief created under President Obama.
During the campaign, Trump said he also would withhold federal funds to punish so-called sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles and Chicago, for their lenient policies toward illegal immigration.
In the wake of Trump's election, leaders in some cities are vowing to continue their policies. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday the department had no plans to get involved in any deportation efforts by the federal government and would continue a longstanding policy against allowing officers to stop people solely to determine their immigration status.
Mayors in Philadelphia and Chicago also reaffirmed their cities' sanctuary policies and said they would fight efforts by the Trump administration to crack down.
"Chicago always will be a sanctuary city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday at a news conference.
Sanctuary policies have become good politics in cities with large Latino populations. But the protections cities afford to immigrants here illegally vary widely.
There is no neat definition of “sanctuary city,” but in general cities that use the name seek to offer political support or practical protections to people who are in the country illegally.
For some cities, the “sanctuary” movement consists simply of encouraging people without legal status to get more involved in government. For instance, Huntington Park has never declared itself a sanctuary city but appointed two people without legal status to a city commission, a move that generated national attention.
Other places, such as San Francisco, adopt far-reaching policies, such as taking steps to cut ties with federal immigration officials and refusing to fully cooperate with them. San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, and city officials strengthened the stance in 2013 with its “Due Process for All” ordinance. The law declared local authorities could not hold immigrants for immigration officials if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges.
That city entered the national debate over immigration this summer, when Kathryn Steinle was fatally shot by Mexican national Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez in the Embarcadero neighborhood.
Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times before he shot Steinle. Trump described the murder as "a senseless and totally preventable violent act committed by an illegal immigrant."
L.A. no longer turns over people arrested for low-level crimes to federal agents for deportation and moved away from honoring federal requests to detain inmates who might be deportable past their jail terms. The action follows a 2014 federal court ruling that found an Oregon county was liable for damages after holding an inmate beyond her release date so she could be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In September, a federal judge in Chicago ordered immigration enforcement authorities in Illinois and five nearby states to stop asking local law enforcement agencies to detain suspects who may be in the country illegally, stating that the practice was unconstitutional. That case is now being reviewed by an appeals court.
Los Angeles is known for its immigrant-friendly policies, but L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he avoids using the phrase “sanctuary city,” saying it’s “ill-defined.”
“We cooperate all the time with federal immigration officials when there are criminals that are in our midst and need to be deported,” Garcetti said last week before a meeting with immigration rights groups. “With that said, we’re a very welcoming city, where our law enforcement officers and LAPD don’t go around asking people for their papers, nor should they.”
More than 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without legal status live in Los Angeles County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs helps both those in the country legally and illegally access community and government services. The office also holds free workshops to help Angelenos apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action that provides a work permit and deportation reprieve to people who were brought to the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.
Los Angeles’ city-run libraries have “Citizenship Corners,” places where literature about becoming citizens is offered.
More than 400 jurisdictions across the country have some sort of sanctuary policy.
About a dozen California cities have formal sanctuary policies, according to Avideh Moussavian, a policy attorney with the National Immigration Law Center in Washington, D.C., which advocates for immigrant rights.
None of the state’s 58 counties complies with detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, she said.
As Trump rolls out his immigration policies, he’ll have to first decide what it means to be a sanctuary city, said Louis DeSipio, a professor of political science at UC Irvine.
“Is it just the name, [a] purely symbolic thing, or specific policies in San Francisco or some other cities that he thinks counter federal laws?” DeSipio said. “What defines a sanctuary city in his eyes?”
A crackdown by Trump on sanctuary cities would probably find at least some support in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Democrats in the Senate last year blocked a bill by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that would have stopped law enforcement funding and community development grants to states and cities that don’t hold immigrants for federal immigration officials.
It also would have enacted a five- to 10-year minimum prison sentence for a person convicted of a felony or drug-related misdemeanors who reenters the United States illegally.
Capt. Jeff Scroggin, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said it is too soon to say how sheriff’s officials would react to any changes required by the Trump administration. Those changes could be tied to federal funding, he noted.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington-based group opposed to illegal immigration, said it’s hard for him to understand why cities embrace the “sanctuary label.”
“I don’t think there is a whole lot of appetite among the public to keep criminal aliens in this country,” he said.
But some immigrant rights activists are now calling on “sanctuary cities” to do more for those here illegally in response to Trump’s election.
Talia Inlender, senior staff attorney at Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said cities could step up to create safe places, such as schools, to protect students from the threat of deportation. Cities could also inform communities about their legal rights and fund naturalization efforts, he said.
Moussavian noted that in the past, cities have won legal challenges defending some sanctuary policies, such as not complying with ICE detainers.
On Monday, more than 1,000 students staged a walk-out that ended at Los Angeles City Hall. Organizers said the protest was aimed at asking local political leaders to declare all of Los Angeles County a sanctuary. The demonstrators also demanded their schools be declared havens from the threat of deportation.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com
By Mallory Shelbourne
November 14, 2016
President Obama said Monday that he will urge President-elect Donald Trump "to think long and hard" before making a decision on deporting young Americans who qualify for protection under his executive action.
“I will urge the president-elect and the incoming administration to think long and hard before they are endangering the status of what for all practical purposes are American kids," Obama told reporters before embarking on his final trip abroad as commander in chief.
Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides people living in the U.S. illegally who arrived as children work authorization and a temporary halt on deportation if they meet certain requirements.
"These are kids who were brought here by their parents. They did nothing wrong," the president said.
"It is my strong belief that the majority of the American people would not want to see suddenly those kids have to start hiding again."
Trump made immigration a focal point of his candidacy for president. Trump told "60 Minutes" Sunday that he planned to incarcerate or deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, which he estimated would be about 2 million or 3 million people.
He also said that his administration would make a decision on the remaining undocumented immigrants after securing the border.
“After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that they’re talking about, who are terrific people — they’re terrific people, but we are going to make a determination at that,” he said in the interview.
By Barney Jopson
November 14, 2016
As Donald Trump reaffirms his goal of expelling at least 2m unauthorised immigrants with criminal records, Hispanic groups and other critics argue that his stance is closer to President Barack Obama’s than usually thought.
Advocacy groups who criticise the president-elect’s plans as unjust and unworkable have also attacked Mr Obama as the “deporter-in-chief” for expelling more than 2.7m unauthorised immigrants during his first seven years in office. The current president’s policy on deportations ran in parallel to his effort to give others the right to remain legally in the US.
“Obama is the person who has deported more people than any president before him,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group that dubbed the White House’s current occupant the deportation president in 2014.
“If you listen to the debate it sounds like Obama has been at the border giving people green cards. It’s ludicrous, these alternative realities. The notion that Obama hasn’t been enforcing the law is an easy talking point to stir your base, unless you are suffering the consequences of his actions.”
Mr Trump vowed on Sunday to deport 2-3m people including “gang members [and] drug dealers” in the US illegally but appeared to step back from his campaign pledge to expel all of the US’s 11m unauthorised immigrants.
His promise to do in short order what took the Obama administration two terms has raised questions about the feasibility of his promises, given legal and practical impediments to throwing even hardened criminals out of the country quickly.
Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute, a research group, said Mr Trump’s ability to fulfil his pledge would be hindered by the constitution’s requirement to give deportees legal due process and by the limitations of the US’s enforcement apparatus.
“Our immigration court system is quite clogged. You would be adding another group to the clogged system,” he said, noting that there is already a backlog of 500,000 deportation cases.
“It would require a huge expansion of law enforcement personnel. But even after that it would require a huge expansion in the number of immigration judges and prosecutors. Putting such a system in place quickly would be a tall order,” Mr Chishti said.
In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Mr Trump — who campaigned on building a border wall and ordering mass deportations — identified immigration reform as one of his top three priorities alongside healthcare and changes to the tax system.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably 2m, it could be even 3m, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” he said.
Independent analysts were baffled by the numbers the president-elect gave. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 820,000 of the US’s 11m unauthorised immigrants have a criminal conviction and that 300,000 are for felonies, the most serious crimes.
In 2012 the Department of Homeland Security estimated that there were 1.9m “removable” non-Americans with criminal convictions, but more than half of them were legally present with green cards or other forms of visa.
“The vast majority of the American public would agree that somebody who poses a national security threat or a threat to community well-being should not be released on to the street,” said Ms Martinez de Castro.
But she said Mr Trump had failed to provide specifics about who he would categorise as a criminal. “I’m assuming he’s casting a very broad dragnet,” she said.
To the dismay of immigrant advocates, a substantial number of the Obama administration’s deportations have involved people who committed minor infractions such as traffic violations or had no criminal record at all.
The Obama administration stepped up deportations in part to show Republicans that the border was secure as it tried to persuade Congress to pass a comprehensive package of immigration reforms.
But that legislative effort failed in 2013. A subsequent attempt to use Mr Obama’s executive powers to remove the deportation threat for some 4m unauthorised immigrants with no criminal records was stopped by the Supreme Court in June.
Mr Trump appeared to soften his stance on mass deportation towards the end of his campaign and said on Sunday that many illegal immigrants were “terrific people”. His comments also appeared to suggest he would focus on his controversial plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico before deciding the full extent of deportations.
“After the border is secured and after everything gets normalised, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about,” he said in the interview.
He added the wall could include “some fencing” along the almost 2,000 mile long border.
Immigrant advocates note that Mr Trump’s close advisers include Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a hardline conservative who helped scupper a Senate immigration bill three years ago.
Opinion polls suggest that mass deportations are not even supported by a majority of Trump voters. The Pew Research Center found that only 32 per cent of Trump backers were in favour of an effort to deport unauthorised immigrants.
New York Times
By Azam Ahmed
November 14, 2016
Ever since the election of Donald J. Trump to the American presidency, Juan Pardinas, a Mexican academic, has been thinking back to his childhood.
Specifically, the Cold War era, when his days as a young boy were filled with a medium-grade anxiety that the Russians might incite a nuclear war that could devastate North America.
“It’s the same feeling of uncertainty,” said Mr. Pardinas, a graduate of the London School of Economics whose work on anti-corruption legislation has been roundly praised in Mexico. “The feeling that politics has become a source of bitterness, anguish and uncertainty is really sad.”
Clouds have descended over Mexico, miring it in a state of anguish and paralysis after the election of Mr. Trump to the highest office in the world. They are clouds of uncertainty and fear, of self-doubt and insecurity. There were even actual storm clouds hanging over the capital in recent days, a literal echo of the nation’s state of mind.
“This may not affect people on the top of our country, but it can only mean bad news for us merchants and lower, working-class people in Mexico,” said Claudia Rivera, a street vendor who owns a food cart in Mexico City.
Outside of concerns about the election, violence has been soaring to levels not seen since the start of the drug war a decade ago. And corruption and a loss of faith in the political leadership had already plunged the nation into a state of gloom. Now, the loss for many is external, too.
“A lot of people see the U.S. as a beacon of freedom, as something to aspire to,” said Mr. Pardinas, who works on legislation and economic competitiveness. “But what happens when you lose a role model, the role model of a nation? Now all of us who admired the U.S. are having second thoughts.”
For most Mexicans, the American election has been a grim exercise in self-perception. Mr. Trump, a candidate who called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals, vowing to deport millions and build a wall to keep others out, has stoked long-held insecurities in Mexico over sovereignty and respect from its northern neighbor. And his victory was seen by some as validating the perception that Americans, or at least half of them, see Mexico through a knot of stereotypes.
Never mind that Mexico’s rich culture and cuisine, its art and film, are having a global moment, Mexicans say. Or that a wall between the two countries these days might actually keep more Mexicans in the United States than out, given the recent research showing more Mexicans are returning home than leaving to seek opportunity in America.
“We are really in need of some reassurance,” said Mr. Pardinas, echoing the sentiment of dozens interviewed in the wake of Mr. Trump’s election. “But you need political leadership for that, and we are short on those attributes.”
President Enrique Peña Nieto and his administration have adopted a diplomatic and hopeful posture toward Mr. Trump’s presidency.
In a statement after the election, Mr. Peña Nieto said the results “open a new chapter in the relationship between Mexico and the United States, which will imply a change, a challenge, but also, it’s necessary to say, a big opportunity.”
He was sure, he said, that the relationship would be one of “trust and mutual respect” that would “build prosperity” for both countries. He also recounted that he had congratulated Mr. Trump by phone earlier and that the men had discussed the possibility of meeting again in the coming months “to define, with total clarity, the course that the relationship between the two countries will have to take.”
However, behind the scenes, there was a deep worry regarding the transition, most immediately the possibility of mass deportations of Mexicans living in the United States.
The Foreign Ministry called back all the Mexican consuls general serving in the United States for meetings to discuss how to respond to the incoming administration. Other consular offices issued requests for Mexicans to report harassment or assaults, as anger stirred by Mr. Trump’s ascendance has turned into racial threats and violence in parts of America. Meanwhile, the government has already expressed a willingness to renegotiate parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But to some, Mr. Peña Nieto’s statement seemed a missed opportunity to address the injury that many Mexicans still feel by Mr. Trump’s anti-Mexican stance and the broad concerns about his threats regarding trade between the two nations.
Armando Ríos Piter, an opposition senator representing the state of Guerrero, said that after enduring Mr. Trump’s hostile discourse for a year and a half, Mexicans deserved a more robust response from their president.
“It was a very light response to a very dangerous threat,” he said.
As Mr. Trump prepared to take office, he continued, Mexico needs to establish its position regarding the United States wall with “firmness, clarity and dignity.”
Instead, “we are left with a politically light position that doesn’t say anything,” he said. “We can’t settle for a statement that says, ‘I spoke with Trump.’”
In September, in anticipation of a possible Trump victory, Mr. Ríos submitted bills that would strengthen Mexico’s hand. The bills, which have languished in the Senate, would allow the government to penalize American investments in Mexico should Mr. Trump follow through on his promises to tax or block remittances by Mexicans in the United States to finance his proposed border wall.
The legislation would also make it explicitly illegal for the Mexican federal government to finance anything that could be interpreted as a border wall, and it stipulated that if the United States decided to pull out of Nafta, as Mr. Trump has threatened, the Mexican legislature would review the dozens of agreements and treaties that govern the bilateral relationship.
In truth, the Mexican government is in a difficult place. Some Mexicans say their leaders must be careful not to antagonize the new president of the United States with their own incendiary comments, given the economic importance America holds in Mexico.
“It is worrying and frightening to know that the loud guy holding a stick in his hand, saying he is coming to get you, to beat you up, is actually in power to do so now,” said Leticia Vega, a Mexican lawyer.
Business leaders, meanwhile, have begun the process of normalizing Mr. Trump’s presidency. Though most executives have adopted a wait-and-see approach, they are continuing with business as usual.
“Sometimes the rhetoric is very different from the actual business of governing,” said Alejandro Ramirez, the head of the largest business consortium in Mexico and the chief executive of Cinépolis, which runs movie theaters across the Americas. “When you have to face the reality of governing you have to look much deeper into the facts, to see whether what you are proposing makes sense.”
Mr. Ramirez buys $40 million worth of goods from the United States every year to run his cinemas, from popcorn and nacho cheese to audio equipment. If free trade were upended, those purchases might be made from other countries, he said.
Few thought a Trump presidency was possible. Now most are banking on a stark difference between Candidate Trump and President Trump, meaning that he will not be as harsh on Mexico as promised. Business consortiums and trade interest groups have taken a proactive stance on engaging the president-elect.
“If the Mexican government is smart about this, if they anticipate correctly the concerns of the incoming administration, they can build an agenda to which the Trump administration can respond,” said Duncan Wood, the director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, which promotes relations between the United States and Mexico through research. “The immediate reaction I got from board members is that this is the moment for us to actually engage.”
For some, though, Mexico’s own problems loomed larger than a Trump presidency.
“The problems that we have generated here, in Mexico, ourselves are far more worrisome and immediate,” said Juan de la Vega, 42, a lawyer who has a brother living illegally in San Francisco. “Those are the ones I worry about the most because they affect my life directly, like the stagnant economy, corruption and insecurity.”
“In the grand scale of things, we as Mexicans know how to accept, assume and transcend this Trump thing,” he added.
By Maria Sacchetti
November 15, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deport 2 to 3 million criminals, starting on his first day in office, is sparking a firestorm over his estimates and renewing fears that immigrants with no criminal records will be swept up in his net.
Advocates for immigrants fear Trump’s plan will be deployed as a cover to arrest immigrants and their families who came here to work and never committed any crimes. But others say federal records are clear: A recent Homeland Security report found that 1.9 million deportable criminals are in the United States and that they pose “a major threat to public safety.”
“There’s no doubt that ICE could be deporting more people than it is right now, especially from the interior,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington think thank that favors immigration restrictions. “They could get ramped up pretty quickly.”
Proponents of tougher enforcement say new technology and enforcement initiatives that President Obama expanded during his tenure will make it much easier for federal officials to find and deport those with criminal records. Trump has also pledged to triple the number of federal immigration agents, who now number 6,000.
Some say that Trump’s focus on criminals is similar to Obama’s priorities, while others say Trump’s plan is starkly different.
Obama, who has deported 2.4 million immigrants in his two terms, had directed deportation agents to focus only on those with serious criminal records and recent arrivals, but Trump has said unauthorized immigrants arrested for “any crime whatsoever” could be deported.
Until last month, Obama also did not use visa sanctions to compel other countries to take back their citizens that the United States wanted to deport, forcing the release of thousands of immigrants convicted of crimes including murder, rape, and sexual assault because the Supreme Court has said officials cannot jail them forever.
Trump says he would start clamping down on such countries on his first day. Federal officials denied visas to Gambia last month. Before then, officials had denied visas to such nations only once, in 2001 to Guyana. Within months, Guyana agreed to take back people that the United States wanted to deport.
“You can’t find a more perfect example of other countries walking right over us,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for a sharp reduction in legal and illegal immigration. “If you’re a strong country, you’re not going to allow that. . . . That’s a great test about whether Trump is really going to assert America’s authority.”
Others say Trump cannot deport people quickly, pointing out that they have a right to a hearing in most cases.
“He can’t swiftly deport people without due process,” said David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “He can’t simply round people up and remove them.”
But immigration arrests are also secret, making it virtually impossible to verify that the people arrested have criminal records. Immigrants are not entitled to free legal representation in immigration court, and advocates have criticized federal officials in the past for detaining and deporting people with no criminal records.
“Rushing into mass deportations means that whoever is at the wrong time and the wrong place could be deported,” said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “People are really terrified as to what the future holds.”
Laura Rotolo, staff counsel for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said the organization is concerned that past human rights abuses, such as injuries and deaths of immigrants in detention, will increase, along with prolonged detentions.
She said immigration courts are already backlogged, and immigrants, even if they are here without legal authorization, are entitled to due process. Many have fled violent homelands and may qualify to stay. Thousands are also the parents of US citizens.
“How are the courts going to deal with all these people? And how are you going to detain them all?” Rotolo said. “Where is the money going to come from for additional bed space? Additional judges?”
She and others said she thought Trump’s estimate of the number of criminals is inflated, and said they believe the number of criminals is closer to 1 million.
In 2013 budget records, Homeland Security said thousands of convicted criminals are released from custody every year.
“ICE has never had the capability to identify, arrest and remove all of these criminal aliens,” the records said. “This population of criminal aliens poses a major threat to public safety. A more comprehensive approach to address this threat is a priority of the secretary of Homeland Security and of Congress.”
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 43 percent of the nearly 2 million deportable criminals came here illegally, while 57 percent had green cards or another legal status before they were ordered deported.
About 11 million immigrants in the United States are in violation of civil immigration laws, including 210,000 in Massachusetts, most of whom are not criminals, according to the Pew Research Center.
Trump has also suggested that he might treat some immigrants with leniency.
In August, he said he would focus on deporting criminals first, and then — “several years” later — he would decide what to do with the illegal immigrants who remain.
On Sunday, Trump called noncriminal immigrants “terrific people.” But others say they expect Trump to stick to his script.
“He’s not going to do mass roundups of noncriminals. He’s just going to have his agents enforce the law in a routine way, which Obama stopped doing,” said Beck. “Does that mean every illegal alien is subject to deportation? The answer to that is yes.”
New York Times
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Julia Preston
November 14, 2016
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s promise to deport two million to three million immigrants who have committed crimes suggested that he would dramatically step up removals of both people in the United States illegally and those with legal status. If carried out, the plan potentially would require raids by a vastly larger federal immigration force to hunt down these immigrants and send them out of the country.
Addressing the issue in an interview broadcast Sunday on the CBS program “60 Minutes,” Mr. Trump adopted a softer tone on immigrants than he did during his campaign, when he called many of them rapists and criminals. He instead referred to them as “terrific people,” saying they would be dealt with only after the border had been secured and criminals deported.
But by placing the number of people he aims to turn out of the country as high as three million, Mr. Trump raised questions about which immigrants he planned to target for deportation and how he could achieve removals at that scale.
“If he wants to deport two to three million people, he’s got to rely on tactics that will divide communities and create fear throughout the country,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York. “He would have to conduct a sweep, or raids or tactics such as those, to reach the numbers he wants to reach. It would create a police state, in which they would have to be aggressively looking for people.”
The details are crucial to understanding the approach of a president-elect who centered his campaign on a promise to build a border wall and deport lawbreakers. On Monday, President Obama said he would urge Mr. Trump to consider leaving in place his executive actions that have shielded from deportation immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.
A Look at the Numbers
Asked on “60 Minutes” whether he would seek to deport “millions and millions of undocumented immigrants,” Mr. Trump said his priority would be to remove “people that are criminal and have criminal records.”
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records — gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million. We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Mr. Trump said. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”
The Obama administration has estimated that 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” are in the United States. That number includes people who hold green cards for legal permanent residency and those who have temporary visas. It also includes people who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes such as theft, not just those found guilty of felonies or gang-related violence.
“They certainly have that many to start,” said Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that supports reduced immigration.
But even if Mr. Trump’s numbers are correct — and many immigration activists dispute them — it is not clear Mr. Trump could carry out those deportations quickly without violating due process.
In many cases, convicts would have to go through immigration courts before they could be deported. Those courts are overwhelmed with huge backlogs, so obtaining deportation orders from judges can take many months — if not many years. Thousands of immigrants are serving jail sentences that under current law cannot be curtailed. According to official figures, as of June only about 183,000 immigrants had been convicted of crimes and also had deportation orders so they could be detained and removed quickly.
Mr. Trump’s approach would in some ways be a continuation of policies Mr. Obama has pursued to focus immigration enforcement on convicted criminals.
In 2014, his administration issued guidelines instructing agents to make criminals the highest priorities for their operations. In 2015, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement figures, the majority of the 235,413 people deported — 59 percent — were convicted criminals, while 41 percent were removed for immigration violations.
“Under the Obama administration we have already managed to calibrate our policy with heavy emphasis on criminal aliens,” said Muzaffar Chishti, the director of the New York University School of Law office of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group.
Since 2009, Mr. Obama has presided over the deportation of about 2.5 million immigrants, prompting sharp criticism from advocacy groups. He did so in part to build political support for a broad revision of immigration laws that would have provided a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.
Under a now-defunct program known as Secure Communities, the Obama administration used digital fingerprints shared by local law enforcement departments to find and deport immigrants who had committed crimes. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also partnered with local authorities to prioritize the arrest and detention of criminal aliens.
Both measures helped drive deportations to roughly 400,000 per year during Mr. Obama’s first term. Multiplying that number by many times would almost certainly require reinstituting a program like Secure Communities and employing vastly more immigration agents, as well as using more aggressive tactics to find and remove immigrants who may have broken the law, according to Mr. Appleby of the Center for Migration Studies of New York.
Resistance From Cities
If Mr. Trump seeks to revive programs of close cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities, he is likely to encounter legal challenges and resistance from dozens of cities and counties that have curtailed or rejected cooperation.
Mr. Trump has said he would cut off federal funding for cities that refuse to help federal agents detain unauthorized immigrants. During his campaign, he highlighted terrible crimes by immigrants he said had escaped detection because of protective policies.
At a news conference in Chicago on Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, sought to ease fears of deportation and harassment as he reiterated Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city for immigrants.
“It is important for families that are anxious, it is important for children and adolescents that are unsure because of Tuesday, to understand the city of Chicago is your home,” Mr. Emanuel said. “You are always welcome in this city.”
Cook County, where Chicago is, has adopted an especially restrictive policy on ties between police and federal agents. Mr. Emanuel encouraged immigrants to call a hotline for legal advice, and said Chicago would quickly set up a municipal identification program to allow undocumented immigrants access to city services.
Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis was defiant. “I will continue to stand by and fight for immigrants regardless of President-elect Trump’s threats,” she said. “If police officers were to do the work of ICE, it would harm our ability to keep people safe and solve crimes.” Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, said the city’s protections would not change.
In California, lawmakers in a Legislature dominated by Democrats rejected Mr. Trump’s numbers and plans. “It is erroneous and profoundly irresponsible to suggest that up to three million undocumented immigrants living in America are dangerous criminals,” said Kevin de León, the president pro tempore of the Senate. He said Mr. Trump’s figures were “a thinly veiled pretense for a catastrophic policy of mass deportation,” and he told immigrants, “the State of California stands squarely behind you.”
The Los Angeles police chief, Charlie Beck, said his force would not change its policies. “We are not going to work in conjunction with Homeland Security on deportation efforts,” he said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “That is not our job, nor will I make it our job.”
By Marianne Levine and Ted Hesson
November 14, 2016
A leading pro-immigrant group is preparing for the worst when Donald Trump moves into the Oval Office. “I don’t think it’s overstating it to say Trump’s election has plunged millions of immigrant families into crisis,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, told Morning Shift. Border security will be a top priority for Trump, but he also said Sunday that he plans to deport or incarcerate undocumented immigrants with criminal records, a pool he estimates at 2-3 million people. With Trump in office, groups such as America’s Voice will move into a defensive posture and focus on people who are “suddenly much more vulnerable” to deportation. Trump has vowed to overturn President Obama’s executive actions, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides more than 740,000 young people with a shield against deportation (America’s Voice itself has a staffer employed through the DACA program). “How a President Trump decides to handle Dreamers will be very revealing,” Sharry said, in reference to young undocumented immigrants. “There’s not a lot of confidence that he’s going to moderate.”