The chaos created by Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is only the
beginning of a crisis that Trump and his allies are creating. Less noticed was Trump’s rollout
of executive actions on immigration and the border wall on Jan 25.
These executive orders were the opening act of what is certain to be an
aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigration. The left responded quickly to the Jan. 27 ban
on refugees withimportant protests and significant legal
has created so many crises in his first weeks that it would be easy to miss the longterm
train wreck being created by Trump’s earlier executive actions on the border wall and the expansion
of arrests and deportations.
On Jan. 25 Trump signed an xecutive
that directs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to
use abroadened definition of
“criminal” and focus deportation efforts not only on those who have been
convicted of crimes, but also those who have been charged, or “have committed
acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” This order will increase the number of persons
subject to deportation by at least 2 million and the order will triple the
number of agents in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office and give
them broad power to ultimately decide who should be deported. Increased
deportations have already begun under this new executive order.
Past use of aggressive interior enforcement, then called “Secure
Communities,” was an abject failure. ICE agents conducted raids and arrested
people at work sites, schools, and on the streets. Often they jailed complete families. In most cases these
arrests and deportations depended upon the cooperation of local police and
social service agencies (see sanctuary cities below)
The campaigns deported parents of US
citizens disrupting families, schools, and
workplaces. The raids were too often done without proper warrants and other
We should not assume that each of the Trump xecutive
will be accepted and implemented.On the
contrary.The orders produce contradictions
and will produce resistance.
Yes, the U.S. can build a wall or fencing on the U.S. side of
the border, except for that portion of the border that is on the Tohono O’odhom
reservation in Arizona.But the wall
will be an expensive failure.
Trump’s demand to build the wall and to impose tariffs is
producing a reaction in Mexico.The U.S. not only imports from Mexico, US
corporations also exported to Mexico$267 billion dollars worth of goods
in 2015. Mexico is the U.S.’s second
largest export market. A tariff on the
U.S. side will likely produce a tariff on the Mexican side that could cost some
1 million jobs in the U.S.
Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farmworkers union (UFW)
asks, “Since some 50 % of agricultural labor in California, Florida and Texas
is undocumented, when they arrest all of these workers, who is going to feed
the nation?”The answer to his question
is, if the border is closed and mass arrests make workers not available, most
vegetable production will move to Mexico and to other countries.Is that progress?
The Trump administration is being reckless and poorly informed
in matters of foreign policy as well as domestic issues.Building Trump’s wall and threatening to make
Mexico pay for the wall built on U.S. land
was a belligerent act championed in the
Trump campaign. This poorly informed effort ignores many of
the realities of the U.S.Mexico relationship. Mexico provides the primary security against
migration to the U.S. on our southern border. Mexican police and military restrict migration
and turn thousands of wouldbe migrants back each year.
The Mexican rmy and police also provide the
primary obstacle to migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemalafrom reaching the U.S. border.The U.S. pays the Mexican forces to do this
enforcement.Given Trump’s provocative statements
and acts, they could simply stop serving as a border security force for the
U.S. The end of bi-national police cooperation would massively increase
immigration and severely reduce efforts to restrict drug cartels from moving
drugs into the U.S.
The Mexican political system and the police are corrupt, but the
situation could get much worse. The
Mexican legislature is already considering several bills to prevent Mexico from
cooperating with the Trump surge in deportations. Readers should know that the Mexican presidency
is up for election in 2018, and the current dominant party (PRI) is in disgrace
in part because it is seen as subservient to the Trump dministration.
Nationalism and resisting Yankee
interference is a potent political force in Mexicoand a left populist – Manuel Lopez Obrador
is currently far ahead in the polls.
Yet another structural weakness of the Trump
plan for expanding deportations further makes it almost impossible for the plan
Deportations currently depend
upon the persons arrested agreeing to be quickly deported.Unless they have convicted of
prior felony, persons arrested are immediately offered a “voluntary”
departure.If they sign it, most of
those arrested will be deported within 2-3 days. (In California it is usually
the same day.)
Immigrant ights ctivists
have developed a strategy to defeat these deportations.Those arrested are encouraged to refuse to
sign the “voluntary departure.”Instead
they would insist upon having legal counsel. All persons inside the U.S. have a
right to counsel (not only citizens).
If some 20%- 30% of those
arrested begin to refuse to sign, the jails will fill within dayseven the private prisons.If those arrested insist on legal counsel, the
courts will be overloaded.
When those arrested have an
attorney some 40% win the right to stay.And, another 40% may not win, but they will
delay deportation for 2-5 years while their cases are heard in the back logged
courts (long enough for the children to grow up).
Even with the growth of
private prisons, the detention centers will fail. Immigration hearing officers
in the U.S. had a backlog of 453,948 cases in 2015.It takes some 635 days to process the average
case.While Trump will expand the case officers, the hearings will create a backlog of years.
Trump’s threatening of sanctuary cities and communities that offer
protection to immigrants because they recognize the injustice in current
immigration laws and practices will undermine public safety.
His threat to take money from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional
overreach. By defending sanctuary cities
citizens and tax payers can severely limit Trump’s abuse. The
state of Texas is considering defunding sanctuary cities there while the
California legislature is considering a bill to make California a sanctuary
state. Because of shared financing and tax collection, states have more ability
to withhold funds from sanctuary cities than does the federal government. Several
California cities are already
preparing the legal groundwork to resist paying specific taxes into the federal
treasury if Trumpfollows through on his
threats to cut funds to these cities.
Immigration officers (ICE)
need the cooperation of local law enforcement and social services to do their
jobs successfully. ICE has far too few
agents and too few jails to effectively remove large numbers of people.The last time such removal was practiced in Operation Wetbackin 1952 the effort was
only effective because local cities and
social service institutions cooperated. The removal was popular. This time
many will not cooperate.
There are some 300 sanctuary
cities and districts in the U.S.Citizens and voters in these cities can have an important role in their
Readers should check to see
if your local city, county, or state has sanctuary resolutions.Usually, these resolutions contain statements
resources, including salaries and equipment funded by local and state taxes,
should be limited to serving the jurisdiction supplying these resources and its
residents.City, county and school
district funds should not be used to implement or enforce federal immigration
laws that are the responsibility of federal law enforcement.
2. Local law enforcement
resources should be solely devoted to enforcement of local and state laws,
protecting all residents and serving the community.Enforcement of federal laws, including
immigration laws, should be left to the federal government unless the
individual involved is a convicted felon.
Based upon such sanctuary
resolutions, we can insist that local resources and personnel not spend time
and resources aiding this misguided federal immigration enforcement.
If your local area does not
have a sanctuary resolution, see models on DSA’s Immigration Rights Committee
resource pagesand try to pass sanctuaryresolutions in your area.
There are numerous groups
working to protect the rights, the safety, and the families of the immigrants
among us. Working with your local DSA, join with these groups to insist that
local resources and personnel not spend time and resources aiding Trump’s enforcement efforts.
Working together, we are not
powerless in the face of executive authority.
wave of immigration to the U.S. since the early 1900s coincided with our lowest
national unemployment rate and fastest economic growth.
Immigrants create new jobs by forming new businesses, buying homes, spending
their incomes on American goods and services, paying taxes and raising the
productivity of U.S. businesses.¹ In fact, between 1990 and 2004, roughly 9 out
of 10 native-born workers with at least a high school diploma experienced wage
gains because of increased immigration.
A legal flow of
immigrants based on workforce demand strengthens the U.S. economy by keeping
productivity high and countering negative impacts as the U.S. aging population
swells. Of the twenty occupations that will see the largest growth in
the next seven years, twelve of them only require
on-the-job-training--including jobs in SEIU's core industries like home care,
cleaning/janitorial services, child care, and hospitality services.³ But as
native-born workers seek higher education and move up the occupational ladder,
the number of native-born workers seeking employment in these industries has
The problem with today's economy is not
immigrants; the problem is our broken immigration laws that allow big business
to exploit workers who lack legal status, driving down wages for all workers. If
every immigrant were required to get into the system, pay their dues, and
become U.S. citizens, we could block big business' upper hand, eliminate the
two-tiered workforce, and build a united labor movement that raises wages and
living standards for all workers.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has created
some information cards concerning some of the most popular myths about
immigration.For example, the myth that
Immigrants take our jobs.
When I was about 10, a classmate in my small-town school in Latvia liked to tell me in between classes that he hated Jews. I was the only Jewish kid in school, and one day as I walked home I heard steps behind me. My eyes caught his, and we stood there for a moment. I still remember his face—hazel eyes, closely cropped blond hair—and his navy uniform jacket over a white shirt. Suddenly, I heard a crunch as his fist landed on my left cheekbone, and I fell backward on a sidewalk damp with melting snow. I still remember the hollow ringing in my left ear. I looked around to scream for help, but the streets were empty. I've never felt more terrified and alone.
"There is nothing we can do to change him," my father said in our garage the next day. He wore a large black boxing glove on his left hand that he made me practice hitting late into the night. "You have to throw the punch from your shoulder, and pack the weight of your entire body into it," he said. "As soon as you show any fear, you've already lost."
My mother and I eventually left Latvia, and bullying was a big reason for me. It's been 22 years since I've thought about this particular incident—but the recent surge of media reports about xenophobic language and harassment across the United States brings those old fears roaring back. And now that we have an administration that has welcomed into the White House advisers with a long history of promoting Islamophobia and boosting white nationalists, I find myself wondering what that means for today's bullies and their victims.
In a 2015 survey, 1 in 5 Muslim students in California said they experienced discrimination by a school staff member.
Extreme views can be socially contagious, especially among young people, who are more susceptible than adults to being influenced by their peers. As a journalist, I report on schools, and teachers have been telling me that violent rhetoric is more common, and that they're struggling to find the right approaches to root it out. But some educators are also part of the problem. In a 2015 survey, 1 in 5 Muslim students in California said they experienced discrimination by a school staff member. According to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union last year, when a Muslim sixth-grader from Somalia raised his hand to answer a question, a teacher at a school in Phoenix snapped, "I can't wait until Trump is elected. He's going to deport all you Muslims…You're going to be the next terrorist, I bet." (The school denies these allegations.)
The Honorable Strom Thurmond, Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
Re: Nomination of Jefferson B. Sessions
U.S. Judge, southern/District of Alabama
Hearing, March 13, 1986
Dear Senator Thurmond:
I write to express my sincere opposition to the confirmation of Jefferson B. Sessions as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of Alabama. My professional and personal roots in Alabama are deep and lasting. Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts.
Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship.
I regret that a long-standing commitment prevents me from appearing in person to testify against this nominee. However, I have attached a copy of my statement opposing Mr. Sessions' confirmation and I request that my statement as well as this letter be made a part of the hearing record.
I do sincerely urge you to oppose the confirmation of Mr. Sessions.
Coretta Scott King
Statement of Coretta Scott King on the Nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for the United States District Court Southern District of Alabama senate Judiciary Committee
Thursday, March 13, 1986
This is the letter Senator Elizabeth Warren tried to read into the record in the U.S. Senate and then she was silenced. Several other Democratic Senators followed by reading the letter into the record.