Trump Announces Massive Sweep of Undocumented Immigrants

[Content Note: Nativism; nativist language; stochastic terrorism.]

Yesterday, the State Department announced it was ending foreign aid for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador unless and until the countries take "concrete actions to reduce the number of [undocumented] migrants coming to the U.S. border."

Many of the people who arrive at the U.S. border from Guatemala, Hondorus, and El Salvador are asylum-seekers fleeing violence, starvation, and/or extreme poverty. Eliminating foreign aid will only increase the numbers of people who are obliged to leave in search of safety.

I cannot see this move as anything but an attempt by Donald Trump to worsen the refugee crisis so he can further justify his malice, as ever using migrants and refugees as the canaries in his authoritarian coalmine.

Also yesterday, Trump announced, on Twitter, a massive sweep of undocumented immigrants across the United States: "Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people......."

At the Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti report that the round-up is happening at the urging of Trump and his "senior immigration advisor" Stephen Miller:
Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have been prodding Homeland Security officials to arrest and remove thousands of family members whose deportation orders were expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the "rocket docket."

In April, acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were ousted after they hesitated to go forward with the plan, expressing concerns about its preparation, effectiveness, and the risk of public outrage from images of migrant children being taken into custody or separated from their families.

Vitiello was replaced at ICE by former FBI and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan, who had impressed the president with statements on cable television in favor of harsh immigration enforcement measures.

In his first two weeks on the job at ICE, Morgan has said publicly that he plans to beef up interior enforcement and go after families with deportation orders, insisting that the rulings must be carried out to uphold the integrity of the country's legal system.

"Our next challenge is going to be interior enforcement," Morgan told reporters June 4 in Washington. "We will be going after individuals who have gone through due process and who have received final orders of deportation."

"That will include families," he said, adding that ICE agents will treat the parents and children they arrest "with compassion and humanity."
There is nothing compassionate nor humane about separating children from their parents, which causes lasting trauma to children. And there is a pervasive culture of dehumanization of immigrants among U.S. enforcers, which makes any promise of compassion or humanity a straight-up lie.

The sweep has the same inherent problem as Trump's plan to evict undocumented immigrants from public housing: There are countless families across the U.S. with mixed-immigration status. That is, the parents may be undocumented immigrants, while some or all of their children are U.S. citizens by virtue of having been born here:
The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend's house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.
There are, of course, also no safeguards in place to ensure the rights of minor citizens are preserved.

(It's surely no coincidence that Trump announced this sickening removal plan the same week as the anniversary of DACA.)

ICE was reportedly stunned by Trump's public announcement, but they shouldn't be surprised. The announcement is firmly centered within Trump' ongoing campaign of stochastic terrorism. He was giving his rabidly nativist base a heads-up to invite their participation in the removal of people from the country.

Hate crimes against Latinx people has increased significantly since Trump was elected, with a 176% spike immediately following the election. His public announcement is a dogwhistle to his seething base that it's time to ramp up the harassment and hate crimes again, and he knows his most violent cultists don't care to make distinctions about someone's legal status before targeted them — which is why more Latinx people have reported being harassed and threatened just for speaking Spanish in public in the last several years, too.

The scope of the sweep — "millions" of people — is unfathomable. It's also impossible. ICE cannot remove "millions" of people from the population at once. But the exact number is hardly the point. Removing scores of people from their homes, all at once, all over the country, is sick. It will traumatize families, it will hurt communities, and it puts the U.S. in the company of nations whose purges of marginalized populations we once fought proudly to defeat.

Today, please share this information from RAICES, so that it is as widely available as possible:

And, if you are in the U.S., contact your representative and senators to let them know you strongly object to a nationwide purge of undocumented immigrants and urge them to support impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump immediately.

Other action items you can take:

1. Talk about this devilry to anyone who will listen. There's a lot of ignorance and indifference that those of us who care must urgently challenge.

2. Contact any local organizations who are providing social services and/or legal aid to undocumented immigrants. Ask them what they need.

3. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper and/or the closest big-city paper. A lot of folks still read those!

4. Support the work of individuals and/or advocacy organizations and/or news outlets who maintain focus on the crisis at the border in non-exploitative ways. That might mean financial support, or amplifying their work on social media, or volunteering your time (in the case of activist/legal orgs).


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