A restaurant worker and father of four daughters in Southern California is arrested while dropping his youngest daughter off at school. A young woman in Mississippi is taken into custody after speaking at a news conference about her fears of being deported; she is released on unspecified terms only after attorneys, including lawyers for the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center, intervene. A popular restaurant owner is apprehended near his home in a small town in Illinois and released on bond only after an outpouring of local support, including letters from local law enforcement officials. A woman with whom I serve on a committee for a civic organization breaks down in tears at a recent meeting, revealing her “undocumented” status and her fears of being deported after raising her family in the U.S.
This is the face of the new Trump policies dealing with the 11 million undocumented people in the United States, policies that vastly expand the threat of deportation to anyone living in the U.S. without documentation. No longer do certain priorities, such as felonies or “significant misdemeanors” take precedence; now anyone who entered the country without documents, including a person who lived here for many years, is vulnerable to deportation. Millions of people who have been living and working in the U.S., contributing to their communities and to the economy, are now at risk simply for who they are: people “without papers.”
The policy doesn’t simply threaten specific individuals, families, or communities. It imperils all of us, not simply because it emerged from the racialized rhetoric and scapegoating promulgated by candidate and President Trump