By William R. Wynn | TULSA, OK
Unsatisfied with what it sees as the slow process of deporting undocumented immigrants from the interior of the United States, the Trump administration on Monday announced it was taking the power to deport undocumented immigrants who are unable to prove they have been continuously in the US for at least two years away from immigration judges and placing it in the hands of low level ICE officers.
“The implementation of additional measures is a necessary response to the ongoing immigration crisis,” Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Kevin McAleenan said.
McAleenan said the new rule takes effect immediately, calling undocumented immigrants – most of whom have no criminal record – a threat to “national security and public safety.”
McAleenan said the volume of illegal border entries makes seizing the new powers necessary, and that, “DHS expects that the full use of expedited removal statutory authority will strengthen national security, diminish the number of illegal entries, and otherwise ensure the prompt removal of aliens apprehended in the United States.”
Under the new policy, it will be up to immigrants who are arrested anywhere in the country to prove they have been in the US for more than two years – a nearly impossible task for those unable to have a drivers license, property lease or utility bill in their own names – and if they cannot do so to the satisfaction of low level ICE officials they will not even get to make their case before an immigration judge, but will be deported immediately. Such rules have traditionally been used primarily against those arriving at the border or by sea, not in the nation’s interior.
Civil rights activists were quick to decry the latest salvo in Trump’s war on immigrants.
“The Trump administration is moving forward with a plan to convert ICE into a ‘show me your papers’ militia that would racially profile our communities, including U.S. citizens,” said Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “This callous and unlawful move provides the same immigration officers who have made racist comments…with broad and unchecked authority to serve as judge, jury, and deporter.”
As the nation was still reacting to news of Trump’s expedited removal plan, ICE came under fire for the needlessly violent arrest of an undocumented immigrant in Kansas City, Missouri. ICE officers on Monday surrounded the car driven by Florencio Millan-Vazquez, 32, and demanded he surrender himself, as seen in a live Facebook video filmed by Millan-Vazquez’s girlfriend, Cheyenne Hoyt. The officers told Millan-Vazquez they had a warrant for his arrest, but refused to show him any paperwork so he declined to exit the vehicle. The video shows the officers smashing out a car window and dragging the man through the broken glass as his two young children screamed in terror from the back seat.
ICE has refused to apologize, saying the arrest was proper, oblivious to or unconcerned about the trauma they caused Millan-Vazquez’s children and girlfriend simply to make an immigration arrest.
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign for re-election seems more and more focused on pleasing his xenophobic base by purging the nation of people of color as quickly as possible. (La Semana)