WASHINGTON, D.C. March 14, 2018- The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today released a new report detailing how the Trump administration has systematically increased enforcement, using harsh, indiscriminate methods to deport thousands of families, asylum seekers, and people who have lived and worked for years in the United States.

AILA President Annaluisa Padilla said, “With this report, we are calling the president and his administration to account for the detrimental impact these inhumane and wasteful shifts in policy have had on so many across the country.” She continued, “The human toll has touched families and communities nationwide, and the examples cited in the report paint a clear picture of the chaos and fear these policies have engendered. These policies aren’t smart, they aren’t reasonable, and they are hurting American families, businesses and communities.”

Kate Voigt, AILA Associate Director of Government Relations and chief editor of the report added, “As Congress weighs in on federal spending for the remainder of this year and considers appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2019, this report must not be ignored. Congress should refuse to feed the Administration’s endless appetite for huge increases in enforcement spending – including 52,000 immigration detention beds, 2,000 additional ICE personnel and 750 additional border patrol agents, and $1.6 billion for the border wall. If they acquiesce to the president’s demands, they will be complicit in his mass deportation plan. Instead, America needs sensible immigration enforcement that is accountable to the public and the Constitution. It’s clear from AILA’s report that we don’t have that now.”

Detailed in the report are policies including:

  • The elimination of two existing forms of protection from deportation, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), that combined protected nearly a million people.
  • The expansion of indiscriminate enforcement, targeting those who the agencies can easily identify and deport, even those who have been complying and checking in exactly as required by the agencies or those who were scooped up as “collateral arrests” during other investigations.
  • The escalation of aggressive enforcement tactics by, among other things, ramping up actions in sensitive locations, threatening the sponsors of unaccompanied minors who are trying to help their young family members while they seek asylum protections, and the targeting of victims or witnesses to crimes who are trying to help police.
  • The blanket prosecution of cases in immigration courts rather than the efficient use of administrative closure and prosecutorial discretion, both longstanding elements of U.S. law.
  • The enactment of policies that threaten the independence and integrity of immigration courts, including establishing case completion quotas to force immigration judges to act as though they are on an assembly line rather than making vital decisions based on complex areas of law, as well as pressuring immigration judges to no longer grant continuances, even in circumstances where additional evidence may prove key to a case decision.

Related Resources

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.  www.aila.org