President has announced widespread raids against unauthorised immigrants with up to 2,000 people across 10 cities identified for arrest.
Immigrant advocate groups are calling on the Trump administration to show restraint after it announced widespread Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) raids across the US planned for this weekend.
The raids, originally planned for June, are expected to target individuals who have been issued a “final removal order” by immigration judges after being denied relief or failing to appear in court.
US President Donald Trump tweeted last month that “millions” would be deported. The sweeping raids are interpreted as a show of force against undocumented migrants.
Trump has said that "everybody that came into the country illegally will be brought out of the country very legally”.
Administration officials have walked that number back, confirming that there are as many as 2,000 people across 10 cities identified as top priority for deportation, ABC News said.
Many of these are families without any criminal background or history.
American Gateways (AG), an immigrant advocates group based in Texas that provides legal assistance to asylum seekers and immigrants at low or no cost, said in a statement to TRT World that it “is profoundly concerned with the Trump Administrations reported plans to significantly ramp up immigration enforcement actions throughout the country over the coming weekend.”
Mass raids or other types of enforcement actions “pose serious risks for the immigrant community” from a legal standpoint as they rarely include safeguards to protect constitutional rights afforded to immigrants, AG, warned.
Trump, who took office in January 2017, campaigned on rhetoric that was often criticised as racist towards numerous minority groups.
One of his most controversial comments came in 2015 when Trump said on the campaign trail that Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Immigrant advocates charge that the criminalisation of migration and asylum-seeking immigrants has continued under the Trump administration. Trump and immigration officials often characterises those taken by ICE raids as criminals.
“We want to push back against ICE’s narrative that these actions are targeting people who are allegedly ‘gaming the system’ or fugitives ,” explains Rebecca Lightsey, AG’s Executive Director. “Immigration matters are both unique and extremely complex. An outstanding removal order does not tell you whether someone might have other relief available outside the courts and rarely does it reflect malicious intent on the part of our clients.”
Political and legal efforts
Many have turned to their elected officials to air their concerns and implore them to take action.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a veteran politician who is currently the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, the highest position in the country’s lower legislative body, told reporters its possible that House democrats have options to stop the raids, but exercising them will take time.
Pelosi called the targeting of families without criminal records “heartless” and that she is "going to appeal to people of faith, the faith-based organizations to appeal to the president.
“They put him in office and they have a better voice for this."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which works to uphold constitutional protections for individuals in the US, filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the Trump administration’s mass deportation plans.
The suit, filed on Thursday by five immigration legal services organisations, argues that constitutional due process requires that immigrants be heard before an immigration judge before deportation.
The Trump Administration’s plan to arrest and deport thousands of Central American families and children without giving them a fair day in court is both illegal and immoral,” Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU Southern California, said in a statement.
“More than one hundred years ago, the Supreme Court decided that immigrants could not be deported without due process. These vulnerable refugees deserve that basic protection.”