As is his tendency, Trump has decided that his approach to immigration could be even crueler than it already was. This speaks to this incredible immaturity; after all, a lot of middle schoolers also believe that the only way to get someone to stop doing something you don’t want them to do, you have to punish them severely. That, to a 73-year-old middle schooler is what one calls “discipline” and deterrence. He wants brown people to stop coming here, in order to appease his most loyal constituency, who want to designate the United States a “white country” and leave it at that.
Last week, I discussed Trump’s plan to essentially end asylum for brown and black people wanting to come here from outlaw regimes, which was cruel enough. However, at the beginning of this week, trump actually doubled down and ordered the establishment of an expedited removal system that will essentially remove due process from the equation. At the same time, the order basically institutionalizes racial profiling, and orders that all law enforcement engage in it.
Expedited removal was a process that started in 1996, as part of the Republican-passed Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). However, at the time, even though it was crafted and passed by Republicans, and infringes on the due process rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the applicability of the law was somewhat limited to those undocumented immigrants who committed a crime and/or lied to an immigration enforcement agent.
However, as we all know, Donald Trump finds the need for due process to be highly inconvenient. From his perspective, the Constitution prevents him from grabbing brown people on the border and throwing them out immediately. The concept of probable cause and the need to make sure everyone has a hearing and a lawyer present to defend them is an inconvenience he must bypass.
Prior to Donald Trump’s ascendance to the throne he images himself sitting on after being “elected” on a technicality, expedited removal was already controversial because it led to deportation before a hearing or trial was held and because it too often brought about the improper removal of some US citizens and legal permanent residents. It was used by ICE agents and Border Patrol officers to quickly banish Those immigrants who arrived without a proper entry visa or if they were caught within 100 miles of either the Southern or northern border.
In other words, immigration activists, immigration lawyers, and those charged with making sure deportation happens within the entrants of the Constitution, have all expressed major concerns over expedited removal as a concepts. Their biggest concern was that it gave immigration officers full discretion when it came to expediting the removal because it meant they could decide on their own that the immigrant In question had no right to plead their case before an immigration judge, that they had no right to an attorney, and that they had no right to appeal. Imagine, if you will, that a police officer could stop you on the highway and just put you in jail without an arraignment or a trial, or even evidence that you committed a crime. That’s what expedited removal looks like. There was an exception in the law for asylum seekers who faced a credible threat of persecution if they were returned to their home country, but many, if not most, immigrants were not aware of the exception and, since they were not allowed an attorney, they didn’t realize they could apply for asylum.
As you can see, even though it was used rarely for years before Trump was elevated to the throne, expedited removal was already a controversial and potentially dangerous process. Back in March, the Ninth Circuit, which is Donny’s least favorite appeals court, openly questioned the constitutionality of the law, given that it denied the opportunity for judicial review of the process, and may have been on the verge of declaring it null and void.
Now that Donald Trump got hold of the law and and made changes, the abuse of the law may become even more dangerous and cruel than before.
For example, the new changes allow immigration officers to stop anyone they wish, even if they only suspect they may be undocumented, and force them to prove their legal status on the spot. Think about the Arizona “Show Me Your Papers” law on steroids. If they are unable to prove their legal status on the spot, they will be subject to expedited removal. Worse, whereas the old rules applied to areas within 100 miles of the border, the new rules apply nationwide, to every state law enforcement agency in the country. That means police everywhere now have the power to racially profile anyone they think “looks like” an immigrant and they can potentially remove them from the country based on their own personal prejudice. That means immigration officers nationwide can stop anyone he thinks “looks like” they may not “belong here” and the target of that profiling will have zero chance to fight it in court.
The ACLU, through their Immigrants’ Rights Project, has already promised to challenge the trump expansion of the law, but how much damage will happen in the meantime? Under the new changes, it will be possible to deport people who have been here all their lives based on an officer deciding they “look illegal.”
Call your members of Congress and demand that they address this and pass a law that prohibits the use of racial profiling in any crime and to create statutes that certify that everyone is entitled to due process. It is clear that Donny and his regime are more than willing to do an end-around on the Constitution and the courts, and we can’t allow it. We all have to make sure someone around honors the rights of everyone in this country.
Every xenophobic rule Donald Trump puts into place reduces the value of our nation and our system of laws, and we are the only ones who can change it. We have to stop waiting for some hero to rise up and save us, and do the work to save ourselves. Keep in mind; if Trump and the GOP can do it to immigrants, they can also do it to us. Almost 240 years ago, Jefferson warned us there was a price to pay fr liberty, and that price was “eternal vigilance.” Call your representatives and Senators NOW and let them know that allowing Trump to make whatever laws he wants is unacceptable and that even People of Color deserve their full civil rights all of the time.