Trump’s mas­sive plan for de­por­ta­tions delayed


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s warn­ing Mon­day night that he would start de­port­ing “mil­lions” of mi­grants was sud­denly put on hold Satur­day, ac­cord­ing to a tweet he sent Satur­day af­ter­noon.

“At the re­quest of Democrats,

I have delayed the Il­le­gal Im­mi­gra­tion Re­moval Process (De­por­ta­tion) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Repub­li­cans can get to­gether and work out a so­lu­tion to the Asy­lum and Loop­hole prob­lems at the South­ern Bor­der. If not, De­por­ta­tions start!” the tweet said.

The an­tic­i­pa­tion of sweeping im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, which was planned for Sun­day, stirred strong emo­tions for many around the coun­try.

When Trump first an­nounced news of the de­por­ta­tions ear­lier this week, Robin Hvid­ston and Mari­bel Cis­neros weren’t sure how se­ri­ously to take him.

The women, who don’t know each other, are aware that Trump is “prone to ex­ag­ger­a­tion,” as Hvid­ston puts it. Both

say they be­lieve that his pro­nounce­ment is a po­lit­i­cal ma­neu­ver to gain sup­port from his base ahead of the 2020 elec­tion (though some think the gam­bit could back­fire).

Nei­ther woman knows many specifics of Trump’s plan, and some an­a­lysts have said that Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment sim­ply doesn’t have the man­power to carry out a vast surge of ar­rests.

But the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s mes­sage stirred strong – and very dif­fer­ent – emo­tions in each woman: fear for Cis­neros, hope for Hvid­ston.

Hvid­ston, 63, an Up­land res­i­dent and long­time anti-il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion ac­tivist, leads a group that lob­bies for stricter bor­der en­force­ment.

“I do hope he ac­tu­ally has a plan,” Hvid­ston said of Trump, who has made crack­ing down on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion a cor­ner­stone of his pres­i­dency.

Cis­neros, 37, is a Sal­vado­ran woman with­out le­gal sta­tus who has lived in Los An­ge­les for more than a decade af­ter es­cap­ing from her hus­band, who had threat­ened to kill her, she said.

At her home near MacArthur Park ear­lier this week, Cis­neros watched a tele­vi­sion broad­cast in Span­ish, flash­ing news ex­cerpts of Trump’s pledge. Later, while sit­ting by the park with her daugh­ter, she felt a jolt of angst. She held on to her baby bump. She won­dered what would hap­pen to her chil­dren if she were rounded up.

“We’re ask­ing God to pro­tect us,” she said.

Across the coun­try this week, many peo­ple be­sides mi­grants with­out le­gal sta­tus – in­clud­ing im­mi­grant rights activists, lo­cal law en­force­ment and elected of­fi­cials – have been brac­ing for po­ten­tial Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment raids and pre­par­ing to deal with the fall­out.

Trump tweeted Mon­day night that ICE agents “will be­gin de­port­ing the mil­lions of il­le­gal aliens who have il­lic­itly found their way into the United States … as fast as they come in.” He sug­gested that the raids would start next week and called on con­gres­sional Democrats to ad­dress the “bor­der cri­sis.”

His tweet came ahead of his re­elec­tion cam­paign kick­off in Florida, and some im­mi­gra­tion an­a­lysts say that it se­verely over­stated the num­ber of likely de­por­tees and the abil­ity of im­mi­gra­tion agents to re­move them.

Mark Morgan, the act­ing di­rec­tor of ICE, said this week that agents would be tar­get­ing more than 2,000 mem­bers of im­mi­grant fam­i­lies who al­ready have been or­dered to be de­ported. The agency says it will pri­or­i­tize the ar­rest and re­moval of un­law­fully pre­sent mi­grants “who pose a threat to na­tional se­cu­rity, pub­lic safety and bor­der se­cu­rity.”

In fis­cal year 2018, the agency said, 90% of re­movals had ei­ther a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion, pend­ing crim­i­nal charges or were ICE fugi­tives or il­le­gal re-en­trants with records for prior re­movals.

Re­gard­less of how many he ul­ti­mately de­ports, Trump’s con­tin­u­ing hard­line stance prob­a­bly will serve his long-term ob­jec­tives, said Hiroshi Mo­to­mura, an im­mi­gra­tion law ex­pert and pro­fes­sor at UCLA.

“I think that these tweets re­ally ac­com­plish two things. One is to play to his base. I don’t think he needs to de­port mil­lions of peo­ple to con­vince them he is do­ing some­thing,” Mo­to­mura said. “The sec­ond thing he is try­ing to ac­com­plish is to make peo­ple afraid. Peo­ple will leave on their own. You make them afraid so they keep their heads down and low and are will­ing to work in ex­ploita­tive sit­u­a­tions.”

The im­pact of Trump’s threats also could have tan­gi­ble long-term con­se­quences, such as re­duced par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 2020 U.S. Cen­sus count, Mo­to­mura said.

Beyond the rhetoric, many in the im­mi­grant rights com­mu­nity are tak­ing Trump at his word and gear­ing up for what­ever may come.

An­gel­ica Salas, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non­profit Coali­tion for Hu­mane Im­mi­grant Rights of Los An­ge­les (CHIRLA), said that her or­ga­ni­za­tion is part of a rapid re­sponse net­work that stands ready to de­ploy im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates to re­spond to raids. Some ad­vo­cates prob­a­bly will be dis­patched to im­mi­grant de­ten­tion cen­ters, try­ing to help peo­ple who get rounded up bond out.

“We are go­ing to try to save and guard fam­i­lies from de­por­ta­tions,” Salas said. “It’s a race against time.”

In Or­ange County, Re­silience OC, a group that fights for im­mi­gra­tion jus­tice, said it plans to launch a tip-and-help hotline early next week.

Or­ga­niz­ers also plan to hold at least three “Know your rights” work­shops for im­mi­grants in com­ing weeks.

Some lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies, in­clud­ing the L.A. County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment, are try­ing to dis­tance them­selves from ICE and the fed­eral poli­cies it en­forces.

“I want the pub­lic to know, our deputies are com­mit­ted to keep­ing you safe re­gard­less of your im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus. Pres­i­dent Trump’s tweets about mass de­por­ta­tion does not mean our deputies are go­ing to turn into fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents ask­ing crim­i­nals and vic­tims where they were born,” Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff Alex Vil­lanueva said in a pre­pared state­ment.

The Los An­ge­les Po­lice De­part­ment said Fri­day that the ICE ac­tions be­gin­ning Sun­day across seven South­ern Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties would tar­get about 140 im­mi­grants with de­por­ta­tion or­ders.

But LAPD Chief Michel Moore said that the an­tic­i­pated raids don’t “have any­thing to do with the Los An­ge­les Po­lice De­part­ment.” His de­part­ment would play no role in the op­er­a­tion, he said, echo­ing a decades-old LAPD pol­icy of not de­tain­ing or ques­tion­ing any­one over their im­mi­gra­tion or cit­i­zen­ship sta­tus.

“We are not an ex­ten­sion of ICE,” said Moore, who has been meet­ing with con­suls gen­eral and var­i­ous com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers re­gard­ing the re­ported en­force­ment ac­tions.

Cal­i­for­nia state of­fi­cials also have de­cried the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plans, as have may­ors of sev­eral re­port­edly tar­geted cities, in­clud­ing Chicago and Hous­ton.

“The Pres­i­dent’s pro­posed raids are cruel, mis­di­rected and are cre­at­ing un­nec­es­sary fear and anx­i­ety,” Gov. Gavin New­som said in a state­ment. “I want Cal­i­for­ni­ans to know they have le­gal rights and pro­tec­tions, re­gard­less of their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Lic­cardo said that his city re­jected “this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pol­i­tics of fear and ex­clu­sion, which is tear­ing our fam­i­lies apart.”

“It’s im­por­tant for all mem­bers of our San Jose com­mu­nity – re­gard­less of im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus – to know they have rights and that our San Jose Po­lice De­part­ment will not par­tic­i­pate in any ICE in­ves­ti­ga­tion or en­force­ment ac­tiv­ity,” Lic­cardo said.


On Oct. 22, U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment agents es­cort a tar­get to lockup in Rich­mond, Va. The an­tic­i­pa­tion of sweeping im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, which was planned for Sun­day, stirred strong emo­tions. The plan was put on hold Satur­day.

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