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

Are the Executive Orders legal that are being issued daily ? Do they have a basis in established Constitutional law? Can these Orders be blocked or stopped?

Steve

As far as I can tell, they're largely legal, reprehensible but legal. The stay granted yesterday only applies to people who have arrived in the US, it is well-established in Chae Chan Ping v. US that the US has plenary power in regards to immigration matters. The Constitution doesn't really mention immigration law except for saying Congress shall establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The Constitution doesn't apply to non-citizens outside the US anyway. They can exclude whoever they want to and for whatever reason and moreover 8 USC 1182(f) gives the President broad power to exclude whole categories of aliens by proclamation. The only real limitation is in the INA 1965 which makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of national origin and religion in relation to the issuance of an immigrant visa - but non-immigrant visas are more common and a visa is not a guarantee of entry anyway.

Marilyn White

Somebody get a straight jacket and commitment papers, send trump to an insane asylum. He has declared war! Everyone just standing by allowing this psychopath, sociopath, demon to wreak havocon, endanger, not only our country, but the world! Somebody do something!

Anonymous

Agreed. The enabling Elvis/Michael Jackson billionaire cabinet entourage and other alternative bizzarro universe flunkies all need to be Baker acted now. War has been declared against the American people, the freedom of our press and our Constitution. Sane members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican, need to stand up to the plate now and stop the madness before he comes for them next.

Anonymous

Aclu, you have gone partisan

Greg

The Supreme Court has held that Congress can use spending to encourage desired behavior by recipients (and discourage behavior undesired). So for the author to state the withholding of funds is illegal is to say that Supreme Court precedent is inaccurate and should be reversed

Anonymous

The ACLU is a non partision organization they defend everyones rights they have defended anti lgbt activists while at the same time defending us lgbt people they have defended the KKK while at the same time defending black people and neonazis while at the same time defing jewish people they have defended Christians atheists Buddhists Muslims and others the ACLU defends your Rights regardless of your political identity

John

That Order also removes Privacy Act protections for anyone who isn't a citizen or permanent resident, and calls for the publication of weekly propaganda bulletin featuring a list of criminal acts that aliens are accused of committing, and any jurisdiction that doesn't follow the Order.

This is authoritarianism.

Simeon bar Yochai

The closest thing is section 14. But there is nothing about the privacy act or publishing criminal acts. Feel free to clarify!

Sec. 14. Government Transparency. The Secretary shall, on a monthly basis and in a publicly available way, report statistical data on aliens apprehended at or near the southern border using a uniform method of reporting by all Department of Homeland Security components, in a format that is easily understandable by the public.

Anonymous

WOW!!!! All of a sudden the Aclu is citing the 10th amendment, which liberals hate. If states have rights then they have the right to ban abortions or does that only count for left wing policies?

Also the Aclu is supporting states violating federal law, which they clearly support, but only when its a liberal law. Sanctuary cities violate existing federal law.

The Aclu just wants open borders plain and simple.

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