According to a report released by the United States Department of Homeland Security on December 5th, “The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home,” Donald Trump has had a rather profound impact on United State’s immigration practices during his time in office. It appears that in the past year, the number of unauthorized residents of the United States being deported or detained has drastically increased.
For one thing, there has been a rise in the number of people who are being seized from the interior; those deported from within the United States, and not the border, has increased by 42%, compared to this same time period in 2016. Additionally, the immigration arrests of people with no criminal convictions have tripled since 2016.
Almost immediately after Trump took office last year, he enacted two executive orders that made almost every unauthorized immigrant in the United States (regardless of how long ago they crossed the border, family lives, or criminal convictions) subject to deportation, arrest, and detention. The effects of these executive orders have been severe; according to HRW, there were a “total of 110,568 interior arrests from January 20 through September 30, the end of the fiscal year, compared to 77,806 during the same time period in 2016. Of these arrests, 31,888 people had no criminal convictions, compared with 11,500 during approximately the same period in 2016”.
“The numbers and accounts of the people who are being deported make clear that long-term immigrants with strong US ties are aggressively and systematically being scooped up and deported…These are not outliers or a smattering of cases; instead, this is the brutal, destructive face of Trump immigration policy.” Clara Long, Human Rights Watch
The Obama administration also deported millions of people who were longstanding interior residents, but the administration also enacted DACA at the start of the second term; DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gave children who arrived into the United States temporary protection from deportation regardless of their legal status. As a result, deportation rates had fallen when the Obama administration drew to a close. The Trump administration rescinded DACA in September, thereby exposing children who have spent all but a tiny sliver of their lives in the United States vulnerable to deportation.
Although international law allows for certain leeway when it comes to the removal of unauthorized persons from its territory, it is nonetheless held that any reason the government may have for removal of a person should be weighed against the person’s family and home life. In many such instances, those being deported are not allowed a trial, or to contest their deportation, and when they do have the chance to do so, the trial or appeal has no effect on their legal status and right to remain in the country. At the moment, people are being detained and deported without the access to a fair, individualized trial to decide their fate. Those being deported are often unfamiliar with their “home” country, as they have spent their entire lives in the United States.
This interactive website posted in conjunction with the report by the Department of Homeland Security allows you to read through the real stories of unauthorized citizens dealing with the impacts that the new deportation policies on their lives. For example, Alexis G. (pseudonyms are used) says:
“My parents brought me [to the US], and I grew up in the United States. If I were to sing an anthem right now, it would be the Star-Spangled Banner – I don’t know the Mexican anthem…Growing up, I met kids from Mexico who arrived during their teen years, and they’d say, ‘You’re not Mexican.’ And then you’ve got the other side telling you, you’re not American because you don’t have papers. It hurts. Do I not count?”