President Trump Is Beginning to Build the Apparatus of Human Misery He Promised During the Campaign

Two memos signed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday are a grim blueprint for President Trump's promised mass deportations. As implementation instructions for his January executive orders on interior and border immigration enforcement, they’re an operating manual for unprecedentedly vicious ICE and CBP crackdowns. 

Heartless and cruel, the memos promise changes that will shred due process and propose to expand an already enormous federal deportation force by 15,000 new agents.  Fortunately, Congress has budget control that can stop some of Trump’s terrible personnel and policy choices, including his border wall. And as with Trump’s Muslim ban, the ACLU will fight to block these memos’ unconstitutional efforts to detain and deport millions of human beings.

We think the last administration got a lot wrong about immigration enforcement — it’s ludicrous to say that President Obama’s record deportation numbers were some kind of mirage — but the Trump administration wants to compound the cruelty. In fact, the Trump-Kelly memos aim to destroy three existing pillars of compassionate, constitutional immigration enforcement:

1) Discard Humane Discretion

The memos abandon any genuine attempt to prioritize immigration enforcement. Virtually every  immigrant eligible for deportation — including almost all of the 11 million people in the United States without authorization — is now a target for detention and aggressive removal proceedings.It doesn’t matter whether that immigrant has lived in the United States for a day or a decade. It doesn’t matter whether she has a serious criminal record or not. And it doesn’t matter whether strong equities exist like community contributions; extensive family ties, including U.S. citizen children; U.S. military service; or exceptional educational achievements and potential. Last week’s powerful Day Without Immigrants gave a sense of the devastating economic, humanitarian, and practical effects of banishing our neighbors, classmates, co-parishioners, relatives, and friends.

2) Dismantle Due Process

The Trump-Kelly memos try to eviscerate immigrants’ rights to full and fair hearings to determine whether the government’s attempts to remove them are supported by the facts and the law. Trump and Kelly threaten a massive expansion of shortcuts to deportation like expedited removal, which allows an ICE or CBP official, rather than an impartial judge, to have the only say on an immigrant’s future. Every immigrant deserves a real day in court and access to legal counsel to make their case, both of which are imperiled by the memos’ medieval prescription of detention for all, regardless of a particular immigrant’s flight risk or public safety threat.

Mandatory imprisonment of immigrants who don't need to be jailed, like asylum-seekers, primary caregivers, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions makes no fiscal or moral sense and is fundamentally contrary to due process. All mass detention accomplishes, besides needlessly tearing families apart and sending many kids to foster care, is a lucrative bonanza for substandard private-prison contractors.

3) Demolish the Protective Wall Between Immigration Enforcement and Police

The Trump-Kelly memos encourage state and local police, including those with records of racial profiling and brutality, to become immigration agents. They are a return to failed programs ended by the Obama administration that intertwined local police and immigration enforcement, which is a federal responsibility. The ACLU and allies won important legal victories against state “show me your papers” legislation like Arizona’s SB1070, and the federal government terminated involvement of biased police agencies like Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s in immigration enforcement. 

Yet the Trump-Kelly memos want to make every cop an immigration agent, ignoring the Department of Justice and federal courts’ devastating findings that Sheriff Joe and others acted unconstitutionally in racially profiling and otherwise abusing the very public they’re sworn to protect. The memos resurrect illegal and unwise programs like Secure Communities, which courts have held flouts the Fourth Amendment by detaining individuals without a judge’s probable cause determination, and 287(g), which deputizes state and local police as immigration agents. These programs only hurt public safety by making immigrants and their families scared to report crimes, like domestic violence, that they suffer or witness.

The Trump administration has sent another gust of fear throughout the land with a mass deportation agenda that is badly out of step with fairness, due process, and liberty. Its attacks on civil liberties and civil rights affect not only immigrants but all who will suffer abuses at the hands of a vast immigration-enforcement complex the memos aspire to create. It will be defeated in courts and communities from sea to sea.

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Luis Vega Jr.

I was born and raised here,I'm of Apache and Aztec blood. So le5 me tell you a few things. First of all,I disagree with you. I also seriously doubt you came here the right way. You can lie to those that don't know any better but you can't to those that know better. Let me tell you something pendejo/pendejo. Just because you act or atleast think you act and believe like the whites isn't gonna make them accept you. You are a wetback,spic,beaner,tomato picker,and illegal like the rest of us even those some of us were born here. It's not about legal status it's about color. Always has been and always will be. So to all you race traders,understand this,when shit gets real around here don't come running back talking about mi raza,mi gente because I for one won't be forgiving. And I've you are so proud of your accomplishments and believe strongly about what you say you do then why sign off as anonymous? I proudly put my name on mine. I'm Luis Vega Jr. Born and raised in this country. I support my people legal or illegal as long as they work hard and dont live off of hand outs like so many lazy American born citizens. I challenge you,reveal yourself Judas. One Proud Chicano! Luis Vega from Indiana. Que Viva!


So long as you are ok with being deported because you get a ticket, and hence become charged with a misdemeanor---grounds for deportation under the current administration. You don't have to be proven guilty either.


to the white immigrant that followed all the rules to become a citizen. we are not saying that deportations should stop, only that everyone in the USA is protected under the us constitution and bill of rights, regardless of immigration status, you as a us citizen should know this.


How about the 50,000 Irish nationals here illegally? How about Melania working illegally? All white.

This is about racism. Brown people being deported. I'll take one lettuce picker over Melania any day. They contribute. She sucks us dry.


For immigrants who feel that they "did the right thing" and are now superior; who are "legally here" and, therefore, others coming to the U. S. should be deported because they did not not or could not, I would highly recommend they study American history, read and learn the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, visit Ellis Island and find compassion. You might also consider posting with your name.


Visit Ellis Island ! Exactly what was Ellis island, oh wait that's where immigrants went to be vetted n to start the process of being legal immigrants maybe u should read about Ellis island

Luis Vega Jr.

I agree,Linda,they don't post with their names either 1. It's not a real Mexicano,it's someone portraying to be Mexican so people will say see they agree,or 2. They are cowards. Race traitors that know Thierry story is a lie.


These are not unconstitutional. You will lose in court. You are wasting your time and you are a waste of time.


I question the motive behind all the emotional words and phrases used in this article: human misery, grim, unprecedentedly vicious, crackdowns, heartless and cruel, shred due process, already enormous federal deportation force, terrible personnel and policy choices, compound the cruelty, eviscerate immigrants’ rights, medieval prescription of detention, attacks on civil liberties and civil rights affect, etc.

Why is there not a single reference to the difference between “illegal” aliens and legal immigrants? Why is there no mention to immigration and other US laws most likely broken by many foreign nationals who intentionally entered the country illegally or overstayed a visa.

What about the rights of the 310+ million human beings that are actually citizens of this country to have secure borders and enforced immigration law? Why does the ACLU ignore citizens rights?

Luis Vega Jr.

Because they know we need these Mexicanos to slave for low wages to balance out the inbredded lazy trash out here that milk our systems to death. That collect welfare because they are too lazy too work. Somebody's got to work the jobs that the lazy Americans won't work because they are beingredients taken care of by the tax dollars paid out by illegals who can't file tax returns.


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