The Hill (Op-Ed):
By Maria Cardona
January 26, 2017
Under the guise of national security, Donald Trump has announced a series of executive actions that start the process of building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, strip protections from non-criminal immigrants and families fleeing other countries, and getting rid of Sanctuary cities.
Word is he will also announce the beginning of the ban on refugees and immigrants of several Muslim-majority countries and the repeal of DACA — deportation protection for Dreamers — in the coming days.
While this will thrill Trump supporters, this is in fact the next part of his continued attack on the immigrant, Latino, and Muslim communities. Trump might as well proclaim the first month of his administration National Anti-Immigrant Month.
Sounds harsh. But while these proclamations are no doubt welcome actions to the nearly half of his supporters who wanted Trump to crackdown on “illegal” immigrants, they have already carried a huge cost to the legal-immigrant community throughout the country, which has suffered both verbal and physical anti-immigrant backlash for the past 18 months.
In an executive order, a president gives instructions to government agencies and departments about how to operate and what policies to pursue. These executive orders he is signing now set the groundwork for real work to begin and allow Trump to claim victory and credit early on in his presidency.
So what exactly did he sign?
Through his executive orders thus far, he has apparently paved the way for the border wall at our southern border to be built. But many parts of the border already have sturdy fencing with virtual Border Patrol agent back-up using state-of-the-art technology.
So does it mean Trump wants to erect a wall in the rugged desert or mountainous regions? Will he claim Eminent Domain in the places where the border happens to be on private property? Will he trounce Tribal Law and build a wall on tribal lands not under U.S. government jurisdiction?
Do his supporters even care that more efficient ways of securing the border would have come to fruition if Comprehensive Immigration Reform had been passed by the GOP lead Congress?
I suspect not. Many of them simply are anti-immigrant and loved Trump’s tough talk. Plain and simple. And sad.
Trump also signed an executive order that would crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, though no legal term of the kind actually exists, but “cracking down” on them sure sounds great to his supporters!
In reality, the threat to withhold funds to these cities if they don’t turn over undocumented immigrants might be an empty one. Many mayors have vowed to protect these immigrants who would be in jeopardy of deportation even though they have no criminal record and have been productive members of their community.
Good for these mayors! If Trump withholds funds, it would be detrimental to local law enforcement — which would be anathema to the very supporters Trump is trying to kowtow to with this order.
He also signed an executive order that would make it easier to deport families who turn themselves in at the border seeking asylum and also broadens the authority of local law enforcement to enforce immigration law.
This means that mothers, fathers, grandparents, who have done nothing but work hard and raise families, seeking a better future for their children, if detained on their way to or from their job, may be deported without delay.
We are similarly hearing word that another executive order is on the way that would in effect mean the repeal of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – made real by President Obama’s executive order in 2012. If DACA is repealed and nothing is put in its place legislatively, these 1.5 million kids will live in constant fear and anxiety.
And what about Trump’s executive order banning refugees from Syria or a handful of other allegedly terrorist-supporting countries? This is nothing less than the beginning of Trump’s Muslim Ban.
I can already hear anti-immigrant Trump supporters spewing hate, saying if you are “illegal” you have no right to be here in the first place. And that if you come from a country that breeds “terrorists” you should not be allowed in.
This misses the mark of the reality the country faces. We have close to 11 million undocumented immigrants. The vast majority — aside from not having documents that allow them to stay — are law-abiding, hard-working men and women who only want a brighter future for their children and families.
Many immigrants do the jobs Americans do not want — they clean our homes, our hotel rooms, grow, harvest, pick, prepare and serve our vegetables, and then they clean the plates afterwards.
Their children are valedictorians, top athletes, talented writers, artists, budding engineers, many are college educated or want to be, and many serve in our armed forces.
They are as American as President Trump is, except for a piece of paper.
The solution has been in front of the U.S. Congress for years — comprehensive immigration reform. If passed tomorrow, it would inject $1.5 trillion in the U.S. economy in the next 10 years, according to a 2010 report from the American Immigration Council. Undocumented workers would come out of the shadows, giving us a real idea of who is here.
With comprehensive reform, we would have much stronger and tougher border security measures that are real and effective instead of expensive and symbolic like Trump’s ridiculous wall.
When it comes to refugees, we already have an “extreme vetting” process in place that takes two years to get through for refugees fleeing war torn countries.
Trump wants to end our America as we know it — a welcoming, shining city on a hill that immigrants see as an example to the world where human dignity, freedom and liberty are personified every day.
Well, not this day. For now, the message from the United States of Trump to the world is: Screw you immigrant, stay out.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com