How Local Leaders Can Resist Trump’s Deportation Machine They should “explicitly remove immigration enforcement from the purview of their local law-enforcement departments.”
On Wednesday, a 35-year-old mother of two named Guadalupe García de Rayos was arrested in Phoenix. Her original contact with police came eight years ago, when Sheriff Joe Arpaio raided the water park where she worked and charged her with using a fake Social Security number. Since then, de Rayos, who came to the United States as a teenager, checked in annually as required with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. Each time they chose not to deport her—with no major crime on her record, she was not a priority.
That changed with Donald Trump’s election. Though Trump’s Muslim-travel ban has gotten the lion’s share of press attention, there’s another group of immigrants he’s moved to target: people like de Ravos who have come into contact with the criminal-justice system. After her arrest on Wednesday, a group of protesters (including her two American-born teenage children) managed to block the van as it carried de Rayos out of the ICE facility. The halt was dramatic but temporary: De Rayos was deported on Thursday. By Friday, immigration agents had staged raids in at least six states, marking the beginning of a crackdown.
Trump calls people like de Rayos “criminal illegal immigrants,” or, simply, “bad dudes.” As president-elect, he claimed they number “2 million…even 3 million.” But such a number is possible only through a dramatic expansionof the term “criminal.” Executive Order 13768, which Trump signed January 25, specifies that the group being targeted for detention and deportation includes immigrants who have been convicted, charged, or suspected of any criminal offense, however minor. The extraordinarily wide net includes both undocumented immigrants and legal residents. It also includes anyone who “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose[s] a risk to public safety or national security.”
The executive order’s nearly boundless discretion, coupled with Trump’s full-throated commitment to mass deportations, will likely result in intrusive police tactics that violate the Fourth Amendment’s limitations on searches and seizures. This comes at a moment when litigation and Black Lives Matter protests are challenging many cities to move away from invasive, aggressive policing. Now Trump’s agenda forces local authorities to make a choice: uphold the protections guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment, or be co-opted into a mass deportation project?
The Fourth Amendment was key to the litigation that forced New York City to end its stop-and-frisk practices. Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights—the group that brought the lawsuit—anticipates more will be required in the age of Trump. “The Fourth Amendment,” Warren says, “will likely be a battleground over the next four years, particularly with respect to Black and Brown communities.” With Trump rallying his troops to “aggressively profile and surveil our communities,” Warren believes that “mayors, governors and local legislatures should be publicly positioning themselves between the federal profiling and surveillance initiatives and their residents.”
Many local leaders seem primed and ready to take such a stand, primarily by designating their jurisdictions as “sanctuary cities.” At a rally immediately after the president signed EO 13768, San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen invoked Malcolm X, telling Trump he “better be ready for a fight because we are protecting our sanctuary city and our immigrant communities by any means necessary.” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh seemed to be restraining himself from shaking a fist as he promised “to anyone who feels threatened today or vulnerable…we will do everything in our power to protect you—if necessary we will use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who is targeted unjustly.”
What defines these and other jurisdictions as “sanctuary cities” is, largely, their decision to ignore ICE detainers. Detainers are requests from ICE to a local jail asking it to hold someone past the time the person would normally be released, so that ICE can investigate their immigration status. The innocuous-seeming document is critical to ICE, allowing the agency to turn jails into a nationwide lake from which to fish for deportable individuals. The overwhelming majority of the 11.5 million people admitted to local jails each year are there for traffic and other minor offenses, making ICE’s How Local Leaders Can Resist Trump’s Deportation Machine | The Nation: