- Immigrants & Refugees
Immigration Raids and Increased Enforcement Endanger Communities
On February 21, the Department of Homeland Security released memorandums instructing the agency to implement the two executive orders that scale up immigration and border enforcement, endangering U.S. communities.
Over the last few weeks, the first immigration raids under the new Trump administration began. FCNL’s lead lobbyist on immigration, Hannah Graf Evans, made the following statement in response to these renewed, devastating enforcement actions:
“These raids are not in line with who we are as a nation, and who we should strive to be as neighbors. Rather than offering genuine opportunities for immigrants to pursue lawful status and citizenship, the executive orders and enforcement actions following them are promoting further devastation and division in communities.
“Amidst these raids, immigrants and their loved ones are facing an unknown future and their fear is palpable. As neighbors, as people of faith, and as constituents we should all be demanding that our unjust immigration laws are reformed to align with our values. Quakers know that there is that of God in every person, we need laws that reflect that core teaching and legislators that will speak out in the face of injustice.”
Almost 700 people have been arrested in the enforcement actions in 12 different states. Among those affected by the raids are an Arizona mother of a teenage U.S. citizen daughter, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 14-years-old; a 23-year-old young man in Washington who should have been protected from deportation; and homeless men who were targeted by federal immigration authorities while leaving a church shelter in Virginia. These are just a few of the hundreds of people forcibly separated from their communities over the last few weeks. A mother of four had to choose to go into protection at a Colorado church, because with the stroke of a pen, President Trump determined her and millions others a priority for deportation.
Following the January 25 executive orders, the memorandums categorize a wider array of immigrants as priorities for immediate deportation, while also encouraging the detention and deportation of any undocumented immigrant encountered by immigration enforcement agents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protections (CBP) are also instructed to begin hiring 15,000 additional enforcement agents to carry out these deportations, and increase 287(g) agreements that deputize local law enforcement officers to carry out federal immigration enforcement.
Congress has not effectively reformed our immigration laws in decades. The time is past due for our elected officials to ensure every individual has a viable chance to remain with their loved ones, and a meaningful opportunity for legal recourse. FCNL urges members of Congress to speak out against these raids, and demand that administrative and congressional proposals are in line with the world we seek.