The verdict on President Trump’s immigration policies and results are far from over.
During the tenure of his predecessor, Barack Obama, deported more people than any other President in history, earning him the nickname ‘Deporter in Chief’ among critics Over 2.5 million people were departed between 2009 and 2015 during his presidency. About one million parents of almost the same amount of children who are citizens of the United States were part of the Obama deportations.
Immigration attorney Matthew Kolken said citizens should not be so quick to judge Trump until they see what he does. One hint of what he is doing counters what the mainstream media is portraying. A Justice Department memorandum issued after Trump’s inauguration offered hope by ending the Obama Administration’s practice of prioritizing unaccompanied children for deportation.
Kolken, the managing partner of Kolken & Kolken, located in Buffalo, New York, said that he thought that the President ‘has a heart’ when it comes to children who cross the border from Mexico on their own. He was particularly impressed that on January 31, through MaryBeth Keller, the chief immigration judge for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, signed a memorandum placing unaccompanied children “at the far back of the priority line” that Obama’s system had put to the front. This was forcing these children and their families into deportation sooner. Under Trump, these families are “no longer the highest docketing and processing priority”.
Another of Trump’s first orders for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was to take actions intended to reduce harm to children with parents in custody, with a directive aimed at facilitating detainee communication with families and precautions to protect children during field enforcement operations. To accomplish this, the White House has called for an expansion of facilities for the children and parents.
“President Trump in two weeks has already done more for unaccompanied refugee children than Obama did in two years,” Kolken said, indicating that Obama’s targeting of unaccompanied children for deportation was “easily the most inhumane immigration law in the last 20 years. Democrats who are horrified (at Trump) could allow President Obama to act in the most unlawful way out of any president I have seen in my lifetime.”
In a December 2016 interview with TIME, Trump said he wanted to “work something out” for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump said. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The majority of the Obama era deportations were fathers, with most of their children remaining in the country. Many ended up in the care of distant relatives, friends or foster care. According to a Migration Policy Institute report, in conjunction with the Urban Institute, these children are prone to behavioral problems because of depression and anger. Living and security can become fragile. Access to entitled benefits are at risk.
It affects all of us. Immigrants do not live in isolation.
“Immigration is not just about green cards, borders or someone else’s family. It affects all of us. Immigrants do not live in isolation. We share zip codes, jobs, schools, places of worship and families. Nearly 1 in 10 American families are of mixed immigration status: at least one parent is a non-citizen, and one child a citizen. An estimated 3.1 million US citizen children have at least one parent who is undocumented,” according to Families for Freedom.
Despite whoever the president is, there are successes from state, local and private organization that help these families. Many of them have hardships accessing conventional health, mental health, early education and social services.
Studies suggest improvement has been seen in service to reduce harm to these children and offer more suggestions. “Health and human service agencies could improve their staff’s language capacity, cultural competence and knowledge of issues associated with immigration status,” said Randy Capps, director of research for U.S. programs at MPI. “They also could build bridges with informal local organizations that immigrants trust, and coordination with federal immigration enforcement authorities and foreign consulates is critical, especially for the provision of child welfare services.”
As Obama’s term ended, figures show sixty-two percent of those who were deported came from the interior of the U.S., while 38 percent were apprehended near the border. In both areas, majorities of those deported had been convicted of a crime. ICE reported that 98 percent of its removals of parents of U.S.-born children were considered priorities for deportation. Almost 54,000 children and their guardians were apprehended between Oct. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, more than double the number caught over the same time period a year earlier.
“…history will record that the Immigrant community in the United States was in crisis,” –Attorney Luis Roberto, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
“Whether your thoughts on President Trump are positive or negative, at this moment in time, history will record that the Immigrant community in the United States was in crisis,” wrote LULAC General Counsel Attorney Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. from San Antonio, Texas. “As you all know, the Latino immigrants are the main target. It is a sad time in the history of the United States and for me personally, as I am the son of Mexican immigrants…It is a battle of preserving not only the due process rights of our great country, it is also a battle of basic human rights.”
Conservatives in Congress say that women are willing to risk the dangerous journey with their children because they are assured they will be quickly released from detention and given court dates set years into the future. Immigrant rights advocates have emphasize that Central America’s violent and disadvantaged conditions force mothers to come to the U.S. and that they should be given asylum status.
Children born in the U.S. are automatic citizens, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. Latest figures estimate that over 4.5 million U.S. citizen children have at least one parent who is undocumented. When a parent is deported, their U.S.-born children sometimes go with them. But some stay in the U.S. with another parent or family member.
…not many American citizens mind immigration, as long as it’s done legally and with a common sense approach.” –Fred Moreno, Tampa Florida
“Actually, not many of American citizens mind immigration, as long as it’s done legally and with a common sense approach,” said Fred Moreno, of Tampa Florida. “But the most important thing is that these laws are enforced and do not cause harm and danger to all Americans. By not enforcing our laws we are putting a severe drain on our already desperate welfare, medical and education programs. We all need relief.”
“It’s at our expense as American citizens who’ve paid taxes but find themselves ineligible for benefits should we be unfortunate enough to need them, merely because we had the misfortune of America citizenship,” Moreno continued. “The VA is a prime example of our troops and Vets suffering horrible and not receiving the care they deserve. We have to enforce our laws to help everyone.”
“I myself am a legal immigrant who had worked so hard to become U.S. citizen,” said Alex Montoya of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “One thing I never wanted to be, when I came here, was an illegal immigrant! It’s sad that there are so many loopholes in our systems that those illegal immigrants use for their own benefits while our underprivileged U.S. citizens are the ones who suffer! People think I should have a heart for illegal immigrant just because I am an immigrant. Unfortunately, I don’t have any sympathy for them. I believe that if we live in another country, we should make sure that we be their legal residents!”