President Trump’s Speech Last Night Ignored the Human Misery and Fear He Has Already Inflicted

Last night, President Donald Trump delivered the first address to Congress of his short but disastrous presidency. For more than an hour, the president engaged in the empty rhetoric of unity and concern for all Americans in a speech completely divorced from the reality of harm he has already inflicted on America’s most vulnerable communities. In just five short weeks, the Trump administration has rolled out policy after policy that tramples on core American ideals.

Let’s review.

On January 27, President Trump issued his most infamous executive order instituting the discriminatory Muslim ban he campaigned on. Immediately he banned all Syrian refugees from the country indefinitely, suspended all other refugee admissions for 120 days, and prohibited the entry of people from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. The order also slashed refugee resettlement in the United States from 110,000 to 50,000.

Chaos engulfed the international aviation system as the U.S. began barring people already cleared to enter the country. One of those affected was our client Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi translator who risked his life working for the U.S. Army in Iraq. Upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, immigration agents detained Darweesh and told him he would be deported back to Iraq.

Immediately the ACLU and other allied organizations challenged the executive order.  And in court after court, federal judges blocked it from taking effect, handing the administration stinging rebuke after rebuke. Darweesh and others like him were allowed into the country, sometimes with crowds of well-wishers at the airport welcoming them.

The administration, however, hasn’t let up. It will release its second attempt at a Muslim ban that will seek to pass constitutional muster, but the stench of discrimination will hover over these attempts forever. We will continue to fight it, in the court of law and in the court of public opinion.

The administration has also caused human misery in the area of domestic immigration enforcement. Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly signed two memos laying out the blueprint for interior and border immigration enforcement. The directives combined with heavy-handed enforcement actions around the country demonstrate that Trump’s mass deportation machine is kicking into gear.

Today we have a new promise for President Trump: We have not yet begun to fight. 

Although President Trump says he will only deport the worst of the worst, the memos abandon prioritizing the deportation of people who committed serious crimes. Rather the Trump administration has laid out a vision whereby almost all of the 11 million undocumented people inside the country could be deported. The story of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is instructive here.

On February 8, Garcia was arrested during her yearly check-up with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and quickly deported. Garcia is a wife and a mother of two teenage children. Her crime? She used a fake Social Security number to land a job at a water park to help feed and clothe her family.

But Kelly’s directives do much more than just discard humane discretion in immigration enforcement. They will also dismantle due process by expanding expedited removal. Under the policy, an enforcement agent not a judge determines whether or not to deport someone.

The memos also demolish the wall between immigration enforcement and policing by resurrecting two discredited and unlawful programs. One is the Secure Communities program, which violates the Fourth Amendment by pressing state and local law enforcement to detain an individual on suspicion of being undocumented without a judge’s say so. The second is the 287(g) program, which turns ordinary police officers into immigration enforcement agents to the detriment of public safety. When immigrants fear that reporting a crime could lead to their own deportation or someone they know, they won’t do it, as many police officials have stated clearly.

I could go on about the damage President Trump has done in such a short time. From rolling back civil rights protections for transgender students to trampling on the sovereignty and treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and from reviving the federal government’s use of private prisons to his overall contempt for the First Amendment, Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to an open and free society.

We were not fooled by the more restrained nature of President’s Trump speech last night. He is a one-man constitutional crisis already in violation of the Constitution. Since the day after the election, we have been organizing our resistance to the greatest threat to American civil rights and civil liberties in living memory.

After Trump secured the Republican nomination, we promised him that if he were to implement his unconstitutional policies that we would see him in court. We kept our word. And today we have a new promise for him: We have not yet begun to fight. 

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Anonymous

What a cry baby Faiz Shamir is. Here's a little tip for you radical left wing nuts at the American CRIMINAL Liberties Union. once Trump starts putting conservative judges on the courts you will start losing.

Rebecca Hewitt

You sound like someone I'd disown as a family member. Anonymous? First of all, ACLU should require real names, and second of all, it is right wing nuts who are the fascists in charge right now. You proud of your GOP congress who is peachy-keen with a Russian Puppet as President, just because he tacked the R after his name?

Bob Curtis

First, you are correct that the ACLU protects us from overreach in criminal law as well as civil law(although I somehow doubt that was the intended message). Second, I note that you were able to call Faiz names by name. I am not able to respond to you in similar fashion.(i.e., I can't call you by name. I would not be inclined to call you names regardless). Lastly, I think you vastly overestimate the number of judicial vacancies.

Luce

Once glorious leader starts putting right-wing activist judges on the court (more of "corporations are people, too") , the American people will be the ones who will continue losing. Thanks to the ACLU for all of their work.

(Anonymous = cowardly troll)

Lolbot

You can't even keep a person's name straight between the top of a webpage and two seconds later. How are people like you supposed to make America great?

Rebecca

If I were you, I wouldn't be so giddy. Read a history book, you're next. Furthermore, it shouldn't matter what side of the political aisle you fall, no one should be okay with what's happening in this country. No one should be giddy over the stifling of their First Amendment rights and no one should be over-joyed with what is, by all appearances a cozy relationship with Putin. You should care about equality, regardless of group that is in need of it and you should want to know about Donald's business dealings. Absolutely all of these things affect you and yours.

Nonni S.

Anonymous, that's if this Titanic of an administration makes it. Let's hope you and yours are never in need of the ACivilLU. Praying for you.

Rod Cerkoney

How brave of you hide behind the name anonymous. As for losing to conservative judges...I'll put my trust & faith in the Constitution & the law of the land.

Chris Monaco

A perfect example of someone that just "doesn't get it". It is not about one political party winning versus losing. Demonizing the ACLU is like shooting yourself in the foot. The ACLU: "For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Why aren't YOU a member?

Wally West

An anonymous first commenter, who can't even get the OP's name right. That will make your case watertight.

Faiz, I'm with you, buddy. I'm from Australia and even were down here in the majority think that this current presidency us out of control... It won't take long for it to unravel.

As to Anonymous, you are a very repressed, bigoted and disturbed ego who is bruised from all the health care and liberties provided by the previous administration. Perhaps sitting on an iron spoke is more to your liking.

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