Even someone who lived under a rock for the majority of the 2016 presidential campaign is likely to be aware what a big issue immigration became. For Republicans, the party platform pushed for increases in border security, reductions in immigration and travel visas, and increased immigration enforcement. When Donald Trump became the elected president, that party platform began to become policy.
The above-linked article discusses the new move by the Justice Department (headed by former Senator Jeff Sessions) to reward police departments that participate in stepped up immigration enforcement, allowing ICE officers into jails and turning over undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.
Regardless of your political affiliation, it is important to be aware of some of the potential drawbacks to this new plan. Aside from its potential un-Constitutionality, this policy change could result in increased danger for immigrant populations and for communities throughout the United States.
Imagine if you are being abused by a partner who you care about. You want the abuse to stop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want the person to be hurt or punished. You may share children with the partner who is hurting you or the partner hurting you might be your family’s main source of income. Would you call the police, knowing that your partner could end up being deported or would you stay silent?
Many undocumented immigrants face this dilemma every day. Some are even afraid to press charges against an abuser, fearing that if they came to court, they themselves would be arrested for being undocumented. This fear is, unfortunately, not unfounded. We MUST do better.
If we are ever to stem the tide of intimate partner violence in our nation, victims must feel comfortable reporting that violence, knowing that the result of their report is just, fair, and increases safety for themselves and their families.
This new move by the DOJ does anything but that.