ICE Raids


Immigration raids are being reported by immigration attorneys in Atlanta and Savannah since February 9, 2017, including multiple raids of apartment complexes in the Buford Highway area.  Anyone wither personal knowledge of a raid is invited to report what you know to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Increasing levels of deportation is one of the purposes of President Trump’s Executive Order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”

According to the analysis of the American Immigration Council, President Trump’s Order to massively expand interior enforcement defines enforcement priorities extremely broadly, placing all unauthorized individuals at risk of deportation, including those previously granted partial protection from deportation such as Dreamers who have benefited from DACA.

The order compels states and localities to enforce federal immigration laws without establishing clear protections against abusive and discriminatory practices by local law enforcement. Finally, the order revives the constitutionally-suspect Secure Communities program (which the Department of Homeland Security had terminated in 2012), orders DHS to consider stripping federal funding from so-called Sanctuary Cities, and encourages additional criminal prosecutions of immigrants for illegal entry.

Erase Enforcement Priorities:

The Order strips away the federal government’s previous prioritization of deporting certain people, such as criminal gang members and violent felons, over others, such as Dreamers, victims of trafficking, and the other 11 million out-of-status aliens living peacefully in the U.S.  Now, the priorities are unranked, including even those who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense,” but who have never been charged with a crime.  In effect, everyone who entered without inspection, no matter their age or how many decades ago it happened, is equally a priority for deportation as the felon wrapping up his prison sentence. The Order has a catch-all category for those who “pose a risk to public safety or national security,” further flattening and making it more random and unpredictable who ICE will go after next.

10,000 New ICE Officers:

The order Directs DHS to hire an additional 10,000 ICE officers to conduct enforcement and removal operations (from today’s 7,000).  It also encourages the expansion of the problematic 287(g) program which empowers state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. Both of these changes will require significant funds from Congress to accomplish.

Punish Sanctuary Cities:

The Order directs DOJ and DHS to deny federal grants to Sanctuary Cities, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes. The Order authorizes DHS to designate “sanctuary jurisdictions,” without defining the term.  Any federal effort to compel localities to engage in immigration enforcement could face strong legal challenges, including claims that mandatory compliance violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Increase Immigration Prosecutions:

The Order directs DOJ and DHS to direct adequate funds to criminal prosecutions of foreign nationals crossing the border without inspection (known as “EWIs” for “entered-without-inspection”).  Border prosecutions have already increased dramatically in the past decade. Per the AIC, “In courts across the Southwest border, the federal government has systematically prosecuted unlawful border crossers for illegal entry and illegal re-entry in group hearings that violate fundamental due process. Asylum seekers have been wrongfully prosecuted under this initiative.”  These prosecutions, often referred to as “Operation Streamline,” were intended to deter border crossings but instead have clogged up the federal courts and wasted government resources.  AIC reports that “Immigration-related prosecutions currently represent more than half of the total federal court docket – more than all other federal prosecutions for drugs, firearms, and fraud combined.”

Revive Secure Communities:

The order reinstates the controversial Secure Communities Program and terminates the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Secure Communities required local law enforcement to share with DHS information about individuals in its custody and authorized DHS to issue detainers to local jails for the purpose of holding an individual beyond the scheduled release date and until ICE could take custody.  Secure Communities was suspended in 2014 after becoming mired in controversy and litigation due to constitutional concerns regarding ICE detainers and the racial profiling it triggered.

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