Legal Experts, Advocates Speak to Upcoming DHS Progress Report and Trump’s First 100 Days

April 25, 2017 – As Congress battles over a spending request, and whether border wall funding, additional deportation agents, and additional detention beds will be included, and as the Department of Homeland Security prepares to release a 90-day DHS progress report on the implementation and deployment of his executive orders, legal experts and advocates reviewed Trump’s immigration policy during his first 100 days in office.

Earlier this month, the Washington Post released a leaked draft version of the progress report, which the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) summarized here.

Greg Chen, Director of Government Relations of AILA, said:

The leaked report shows that the Trump Administration is following through with his campaign promise to create the largest deportation machine in history by building a border wall, hiring even more deportation agents, and paying for additional detention beds. Both Republicans and Democrats have criticized the plan as unnecessary and a waste of billions of American taxpayer dollars.  The leaked plan won’t make America safer or create jobs for Americans, which is what our country needs.  The plan will also turn America’s back on asylum seekers at our borders and send them into life-threatening dangers without a fair chance to request protection as US law guarantees.

Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration, Center for American Progress, said:

President Trump has managed to achieve two big things on immigration that may not be captured in the progress reports that DHS and DOJ will be delivering today: First, he has managed to spread fear and chaos in immigrant communities across the United States, breaking apart families and diminishing public safety. Second, he has managed to galvanize widespread, popular opposition to his attacks on immigrants, strengthening the resolve of state and local elected leaders and building the foundation for progress in the years ahead.

Christian Ramirez, Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), said:

Border communities are appalled, but not surprised to learn that the Trump Administration plans to deploy more Border Patrol agents to our region.

Tens of millions of residents who call the border region home already live under the threat of encountering border agents who can get away with murder. Simply put, our communities do not trust CBP agents. By lowering hiring standards and not establishing commensurate accountability or oversight mechanisms to control Border Patrol, the administration will allow the shameful culture of impunity and violence that plagues the nation’s largest law-enforcement agency to remain in place.

Militarization has no place in a democracy. The notion that border communities need walls and more immigration agents is patently false,unjustified, and detrimental to the civil rights for the millions of people who live, work, and travel through the borderlands. We reject these misplaced priorities and call on the Trump administration to help revitalize, not militarize border communities.

Mary Small, Policy Director, Detention Watch Network (DWN), said:

This draft report shows Trump’s DHS scrambling to make the administration’s nativist agenda a reality, including a massive increase to an already inhumane detention system operating at a historic high. With almost no regard for the separation of immigrant families or rights of people seeking asylum, Trump’s plan puts taxpayer dollars straight into the pockets of notorious private prison companies with long track records of abuse and mismanagement.

Angela Kelley, Senior Strategic Advisor for Immigration, Open Society Policy Center, said:

As we hit the 100 day mark, the Trump Administration is, thankfully, finding that the road from campaign promises to policies longer and much harder to navigate than they predicted — whether it’s the Muslim ban, currently held up in courts; the border wall, which is seemingly hitting a wall of its own in Congress; or local electeds and law enforcement balking at Attorney General Jeff Sessions attempts to pull government funding based on their wise state policies of limited entanglement of local and state forces. Notwithstanding these obstacles, Trump and his Administration have managed to terrify local communities with aggressive enforcement and sweeping orders that place bullseyes on the backs of families. While ICE arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal records are up, reports of domestic violence are down as victims are too afraid to come forward — and these are just a couple examples of how our new Administration is supposedly ‘making America great again.’

The mission of America’s Voice (AV) and America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF) is to harness the power of American voices and American values to enact policy change that guarantees full labor, civil and political rights for immigrants and their families. We work in partnership with progressive, faith-based, labor, civil rights, and grassroots groups, networks, and leaders to policies and legislation that will stabilize the lives of 11 million Americans-in-waiting and put them on the road to full citizenship. www.americasvoice.org