FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

DHS Immigration Raids Reverse Policy of Deporting Felons, Not Families

by

Homeland

The Department of Homeland Security has begun launching raids against undocumented immigrants with recent orders of deportation. This reversal of prioritization shifts DHS’s focus to those who pose the least threat. The planned raids won’t focus on people with criminal backgrounds, or those who are threats to national security. Instead, they’ll be targeting families fleeing horrifically violent conditions in Central America – people who had no choice but to run.

Despite Donald Trump’s ignorant comments to the contrary, it is not possible to detain and deport every undocumented immigrant. It’s not even a simple matter to determine who is deportable and who isn’t – evinced best, perhaps, by the overworked dockets of immigration judges across the country. That’s why there must be sensible prioritization of removals.

Even as deportation levels reach record numbers, under the Obama administration there has been some shift toward detention and removal of people with criminal backgrounds. Every memorandum laying out prioritization of removal schemes since 2010 has prioritized this category of people. Recent entrants without criminal records were generally considered by DHS relatively lower priority for removal. On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced sweeping executive actions on immigration. One of these was a superseding memorandum revising the prioritization of removals. Under that memo, people with outstanding orders of removal issued after January 1, 2014 would be “Priority 3” – the lowest tier. That memo is still in effect – but these are the people DHS seeks to target after New Year’s.

Going after the lowest priority cases – families, including children, fleeing horrific terror in Central America – is beyond farcical. What happened to focusing on national security threats (Priority 1) or those with criminal backgrounds (Priority 2)? We expect our law enforcement officers to protect us. For every child they spend our tax dollars to detain and deport, there is one more person with a serious criminal background who walks free.

These types of “psyop” announcements only serve to increase distrust of law enforcement among immigrant communities, which weakens the effectiveness of law enforcement itself.

It’s odd that DHS would allow such information to become public so far in advance. On the bright side, it provides an opportunity to advise these families that they do not have to answer the door for ICE unless there’s a warrant; even if there is a warrant, they do not have to talk to ICE agents, or even give their name. They have an absolute right to talk to a lawyer, and that’s absolutely what they should do.

Many people with orders of removal aren’t necessarily at the end of the road. These orders are often improperly issued without due process, leaving them vulnerable to legal challenges . Mislabeled notices, improper service, coercion, and woefully inadequate legal representation are some of the main reasons these orders can be cancelled. For many people DHS seeks to target, deportation can and will be halted.

What, then, is DHS trying to prove, going after children and families? Is this an attempt to “secure the border,” and gain the support of impossible-to-please immigration restrictionists? Calls to “secure the border” are illusory; there are no coherently defined metrics to determine when the border would be secure. (John McCain tried once, saying only “I’ll know it when I see it.”) Meanwhile, Tashfeen Malik slid into the US because there were insufficient resources to properly vet her. Congress’ response? Calls to tighten the K-1 visa program Malik used to enter the US, even though Malik had many other ways to enter the country. Maybe it would be a good idea for DHS to call off these raids, and start employing its resources towards vetting incoming immigrants.

DHS had been moving in the right direction by focusing on high-priority cases. The 2016 raids of families turn sound policy on its head. Deport felons, not families.

More articles by:

Hassan Ahmad is an immigration lawyer in Northern Virginia. 

January 23, 2018
Carl Boggs
Doomsday Panic in Hawaii
Mark Ashwill
If I Were US Ambassador to Vietnam…
Jack Rasmus
US Government Shutdown: Democrats Blink…Again
Nick Pemberton
The Inherent Whiteness of “Our Revolution”
Leeann Hall
Trump’s Gift for the Unemployed: Kicking Them Off Health Care
Dean Baker
Lessons in Economics For the NYT’s Bret Stephens: Apple and Donald Trump’s Big Tax Cut
Mitchell Zimmerman
Law, Order and the Dreamers
Ken Hannaford-Ricardi
The Kids the World Forgot
Dave Lindorff
South Korea Slips Off the US Leash
Ali Mohsin
Extrajudicial Murder of Pashtun Exposes State Brutality in Pakistan
Jessicah Pierre
Oprah is No Savior
John Carroll Md
Keeping Haiti in Perspective
Amir Khafagy
Marching Into the Arms of the Democrats
January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Earmark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
Howard Lisnoff
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail