Trump’s Executive Actions Today Demonstrate He Will Follow Through on His Unlawful and Draconian Immigration Policies

President Trump today signed executive orders directing the federal government to fund construction of a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico and to freeze funding to sanctuary cities.

These orders send a clear and disappointing signal that the Trump Administration will seek to enact unlawful, draconian immigration policies.  The ACLU will continue to fight these efforts every step of the way.

Militarizing the border

The expansion in the size and power of border security forces will only serve to further erode the rights of tens of millions of people who call those border communities their home. This is not rational national security policy. President Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is based fundamentally on racial and ethnic bias.

This is a piece of dangerous political theater that will undermine civil liberties and turn border communities into military zones where heavily armed, poorly trained, and unaccountable agents will wield dangerous influence and authority. The president’s order to accelerate deportation of undocumented immigrants includes a prioritization of individuals with “chargeable criminal offenses,” meaning that even lawful longtime permanent residents who have been alleged by ICE to have committed a minor misdemeanor could be prioritized for deportation depending on how the Secretary of Homeland Security chooses to interpret the statute.

The Department of Homeland Security deportation force has a clear track record of racial profiling and using excessive force in abusing detainees. Just as we’ve always done, we will take these matters to court if and when the president’s policies lead to mass violations of civil liberties and the further erosion of the rights of millions of people.

Punishing sanctuary cities

Across the country, cities and states have made their own decisions on how to best ensure public safety in their communities. This includes “sanctuary cities” that decline to spend local resources on draconian and counterproductive immigration enforcement efforts, offering city services without respect to immigration status or English-language ability, protecting the confidential records of undocumented immigrants, or refusing to detain immigrants on behalf of ICE.

This is not rational national security policy. President Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is based fundamentally on racial and ethnic bias.

President Trump does not have the legal authority to unilaterally defund cities and states that protect people’s rights and stay clear of the deportation business. While he may be counting on cities to buckle under the pressure of his bully pulpit, cities and local law enforcement officials have already begun preparing to defend their lawful policies.

We will support cities and states in suing the federal government should they attempt to enforce President Trump’s executive order. Any attempt from the federal government to commandeer state and local governments into carrying out federal policies will violate the 10th Amendment, and attempts to coerce local entities into action by withholding funds violates the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The law is clear on this, and President Trump is out of line.

Sanctuary cities represent the best this country has to offer: a spirit of inclusiveness and respect for individual rights. These are the principles that we will continue to fight for against all who try to root it out. 

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Anonymous

The ACLU never said it wanted open borders. They just think that committing minor misdemeanors should not allow the government to deport you. For instance, if a legal resident who immigrated from another country accidentally trespasses, the government should not be allowed to deport them.

States rights are important. I just do not think the states have a right to force citizens to go through the excruciating effects of childbirth, when it is predicted to kill the mother or the baby is deformed, although this is a topic for a different forum.

The ACLU is not supporting states violating federal law, they just do not want the government breaking the constitution which says:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense"

They think a part of the government's plan is to break this clause.

The ACLU DOES NOT WANT OPEN BORDERS. They just want civil rights for all Americans no matter their ethnicity.

Anonymous

Agreed.

Anonymous

Its obvious that you know nothing about immigration laws because they can lose status for committing crimes even if they are misdemeanors. If they do not register there new address with the attorney general within 10 business days its a direct violation of immigration law. I don't understand how people expect the United States to take everyone, when our own situation is grave. I wish more people graduated high school sometimes because I feel like I am surrounded by spoiled children whom where never told the word no.

Pat

When Trump was a candidate I do not remember him mentioning anything about defunding sanctuary cities. People need to question if he has added this Sanction as a means to punish cities with a high Women's March turnout. For the most part his list of sanctuary cities = cities with a high participation rate in the January 21st march.

Anonymous

So... it's wrong to put up barriers on one's borders???

Anonymous

Whether it's wrong or not, it's ineffective and fiscally irresponsible.

Anonymous

Really? You know Mexico has a wall. China has a Great Wall. You must have a really nice job where you don't have to see any acts of injustice. I live in a border town and trust me its not as great as you think. Americans get hired last and if you don't speak their language you will not even get called back. They will hire family members before someone who is qualified and its not right especially being born in the United States. Its not even a competition cared to the under skill individuals we are gladly inviting here. I guess you will change your mind when your job gets reassigned to someone less qualified.

Susan

Is the ACLU addressing the President's apparent order to create a public list of crimes committed by immigrants?

Ann Reece

I'm interested in joining a grassroots action protesting this proposed Executive Order. Does the ACLU have message points/draft letters that I could use? Are these available for other issues such as the proposed executive order barring visa holders from the seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Anonymous

the border is more important than pbs. good thing is, once built, we will see no change. this is how he goes bankrupt.

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