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Remember just after the election, when Donald Trump announced that he was going to prioritize unauthorized immigrants who were also "criminal aliens" for deportation? At the time, the announcment was welcomed by some immigration advocates and experts as an indication that Trump might continue some version of the Obama administration's purported goal of focusing on dangerous criminal immigrants for enforcement action.
This, in the minds of some analysts, left open the hope that Trump might eventually agree to work out some kind of de facto legalization, or at least a place farther back in the deportation line, for unauthorized immigrants who do not have criminal records.
But, right from the beginning, there was something about Trump's announcement that didn't quite fit in with this more "compassionate", "humanitarian" or at least realistic (since even Donald Trump doesn't have the resources to deport all of the 11 million people who are in this country without permission any time soon) policy.
As I warned in an Immigration Daily comment at that time, it quickly became obvious that Trump might be more interested in promoting the facade of this more targeted policy than in focusing on the real criminals.
As I wrote, there were plans afoot to play around with the definition of "criminal alien" to include, not only unauthorized immigrants who had actually been convicted of a crime, but those who had only been arrested or charged with a crime, even if not convicted.
In addition, Trump's proposed definition, reportedly prepared by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has arguably found more creative (and less successful, based on numerous court decisions to date) ways to harass and persecute minority immigrants - and prevent minority US citizens from voting - through attempted legislative means than anyone else in America, would have identified even immigrants who had never been charged with any crime at all, but who might have engaged in conduct which could have resulted in being charged with a crime in theory, as "criminal" aliens for deportation priority purposes.
As I also wrote at the time, this broad definition of "criminal alien" would overturn almost 2,000 years of Western legal principles to the effect that a person charged with crime is innocent until proven guilty.
However, it would have accomplished the goal of making it easier to engage in mass deportation of millions of Latino, Black, Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants by inflating the definition of "criminal alien" to including many people who are not in fact criminals under our law.
However, that was then, back in November or December, 2016. Now, we are seeing the reality of the Trump administration's definition of "criminal alien" - anyone without legal papers whom ICE can catch and lock up in house to house, door to door raids, traffic stops, or just random documents searches in minority areas throughout America.
See the Huffington Post's February 10 report:
Undocumented immigrants Arrested Nationwide, Stoking Fears of Trump's 'Deportation Force'
See also: The Hiil: (February 10):
Panic setting in among Hispanics over deportations:
As shown by these two reports, the people being picks up and summarily deported in these ICE raids and roundups are not the powerful billionaires, generals and politicians who have been appointed to Trump's cabinet or as part of his inner circle of advisers.
They are the least powerful, most vulnerable people in our society, such as Arizona resident Garcia de Rayos, who had been convicted of a low-level, non-violent crime, and who was suddenly deported during a routine annual ICE inspection.
The same is true of the hundreds of ordinary people with legal visas, and even, initially, green cards, who had come to the United States to study, to do research, as refugees, or simply to reunite with their families, who were detained and handcuffed at airports across America without access to attorneys, and, in many cases, were sent back to their home countries before the federal courts stepped in to protect their basic human rights and the Constitutional rights of American citizens who had invited them to come to America.
As was widely reported in the media, one of the victims of Trump's ban on immigration from seven Muslim countries was a baby from Iran who had been brought to the United States for urgently needed, lifesaving, medical treatment.
Another person with proper legal documents who was initially denied entry (but who, like the Iranian baby, was eventually admitted) was an Iraqi translator who had spent years risking his life to support American soldiers in his country.
During the litigation in the 9th Circuit, which put at least a temporary stop to this madness and repression which, to day the least, had temporarily blurred the distinction between America and North Korea, Donald Trump's Justice Department lawyers were repeatedly asked to provide evidence that any of the people who had been blocked from entering the US or had been summarily sent back to their countries, or the thousands of others from the seven countries who had been granted US visas, represented a danger of any kind to the United States.
No such evidence was offered.
The reality is that the danger of terrorist attacks against the United States by people from the seven countries affected by Trump's immigration ban, while not entirely non-existent, has been greatly exaggerated.
This raises a fundamental question at the heart of Trump's Muslim countries and worldwide refugee ban: what is the real purpose of the ban?
Is it to make America safer? Or is to destroy anyone or anything that stands in the way of Trump's drive to absolute power, not only over America's immigration system, but over America itself?
Judging by the president's repeated and intense, if not actually obsessive, attacks on the courts for blocking his ban, while in effect, accusing the US judiciary, which is the only branch of the government left that still operates independently of the will of America's new supreme leader, of supporting terrorists, Trump's real goal is becoming even clearer than before.
All indications are that this goal is to establish one-man rule in America. This is, very arguably, the ultimate purpose of Donald Trump's stepped up roundups and raids which are now spreading fear and terror in immigrant communities throughout the United States.
This was also, very arguably, the fundamental reason for his Muslim immigrant and refugee ban which would have disrupted the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people around the world.
Attorney at Law
To be continued.
Attorney at Law
Updated 02-13-2017 at 12:07 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs