Church advocate: New immigration proposals reflect ‘mass hysteria’ about undocumented people

A mother and daughter in Los Angeles react after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a split ruling June 23 blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions to temporarily stop deportations. (CNS photo/Eugene Garcia, EPA) A mother and daughter in Los Angeles react after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a split ruling June 23 blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions to temporarily stop deportations. (CNS photo/Eugene Garcia, EPA) 

Details of President Donald J. Trump’s revised plans to deport people living in the United States without proper documentation came into sharper focus on Feb. 21. A pair of memos from the Department of Homeland Security propose hiring up to 15,000 additional federal agents to focus on immigration violations and broadly expand guidelines on the kinds of offenses that can trigger deportation. A senior attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network said that the anxiety these moves will likely provoke among immigrant communities makes the situation “a recipe for disaster.”

The memos state that immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and that officers “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”

According to a question-and-answer document on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, even nonviolent crimes, such as driving without a license, could lead to deportation.

During the Obama administration, undocumented people in the United States faced immediate deportation if they were convicted of certain crimes or if they had entered the United States less than 14 days before capture and were apprehended within 100 miles of the U.S. border.

A senior attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network described the new rules as “unnecessarily draconian” and predicted that they would split up families.

But under the rules outlined by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, almost any person living illegally in United States could face deportation. Undocumented individuals who have been charged or convicted of any crime — and even those suspected of a crime — will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor traffic offenses or those deemed a threat to a community by local law enforcement.

Additionally, rather than focus on a certain area of the border for people crossing illegally, officials would be empowered to make arrests throughout the nation. The memos also expand the timeframe of a “recent” arrival from two weeks to two years and specify that undocumented people may be deported to Mexico rather than held and then repatriated to their countries of origin. The latter is the current practice, a process slow enough to allow many held for deportation to appeal their determinations.

Michelle Mendez, a senior attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, or CLINIC, described the rules laid out in the memos as “unnecessarily draconian” and predicted that they would split up families. She pointed to new rules about partnerships with local police and changes to how the federal government classifies unaccompanied minors as particularly troubling.

“We have so many advocates who are receiving text messages and phone calls [from clients] asking if they should go to the grocery store, go to church or send their kids to school because they’re afraid they’ll be picked up,” Ms. Mendez said.

Those fears are now warranted, Ms. Mendez said. She worries that the anxiety generated by Mr. Trump’s recent executive orders, together with the new Homeland Security memos, will mean that undocumented people will fall victim to scam artists promising assistance on immigration penalties.

“There is mass hysteria and people who try to profit from that hysteria,” she said. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

The memos also address Mr. Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, one of the president’s signature campaign commitments, though they suggest that in some areas, a fence or even sensors may be used instead of a wall.

The Department of Homeland Security has said it has identified locations to build a wall, including El Paso, Texas, and near Tucson, Az., where existing border fences have been deemed no longer effective. It is also assessing other areas where there is currently no fencing in order to “build a wall or similar physical barrier on the border where it currently does not exist.”

The new policies still abide by Obama-era exemptions for the roughly 750,000 undocumented people living in the United States brought here as children, known as Dreamers, and Homeland Security officials have said that even with the new rules, large-scale immigration raids are not expected.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 months ago

"Obama Has Deported More People Than Any Other President"
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?…

"How many people have been deported under Obama? President Barack Obama has often been referred to by immigration groups as the "Deporter in Chief."
Between 2009 and 2015 his administration has removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, which doesn’t include the number of people who "self-deported" or were turned away and/or returned to their home country at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)."
How does he compare to other presidents?
"According to governmental data, the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president's administration in history.
In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.
President George W. Bush's administration deported just over two million during his time in office; and Obama’s numbers don’t reflect his last year in office, for which data is not yet available. "

So where were the nation wide demonstrations against Obama's deportation policies in cities, at airports and other public places? Why were there no weekly or daily demonstrations against Obama's deportations? Where was the media fanning the issue? Where were the articles denouncing Obama policies in America magazine? The hypocrisy of the left, the liberals, the progressives, the media and their hatred of President Trump is overwhelming.

Charles Erlinger
2 months ago

On May 7, 2016 I submitted a comment on the following report contained in an America magazine article which stated:

“'The Pew Research Center reported last fall that 41 percent of all Americans see immigrants as a “burden” on our society, but 55 percent of white (i.e., non-Hispanic) Catholics do. More than a third of white Catholics do not think undocumented immigrants should be permitted to stay, even when the strict conditions included in immigration reform proposals are met'.”

I commented as follows:

"Donald Trump has reemphasized right up to the present that he intends to move 11,000,000 to 12,000,000 people, men, women and children, who are in the United States illegally, out. He says that those who are interested in returning may subsequently apply for reentry legally. He apparently intends to forcibly round them up and transport them to...where? It is safe to assume that Mexico will not welcome U.S. transporters to take them to points of U.S. choosing inside their country. Will he haul them in railroad cars or in 18-wheeler convoys to border crossing points and force them to march into northern Mexico towns, or into the Mexican desert wilderness just across the Rio Grande? And what would be the schedule? Can he move a million per year? Can he maintain that pace for twelve years? How will the sick and those who have died on the way be disposed of? Will that be the responsibility of the closest town to where the sickness or death occurred? Once the deported are set up in Mexican refugee camps, how many will survive? What will happen to their real and personal property and their financial savings, if any? Who gets it once it is confiscated? And who among us will do the numerous jobs involved to accomplish all of the violent activities that this enormous project will require?

"After the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact during World War II, various historical sources tell us, Germans deported Poles and Jews from Nqzi territories and the Soviets deported Poles from areas of Eastern Poland, to Siberia and Central Asia. Needless to say, many did not survive.

"The Khmer Rouge, when they took control of Cambodia, moved most of the urban population into the countryside. At least two million people were involved. Most did not survive.

"There were about two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire before WWI. After Turkey finally ended mass expulsions, some estimates are that approximately 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead. More are estimated to have been forcibly removed from the country.

"These are just some of the historical occurrences of mass, forced expulsions. As soon as one generation after these occurrences, the sons and daughters and grandchildren of those who perpetrated these and similar acts, witnessed their parents and grandparents denounced as having committed crimes against humanity and in some cases genocide. Some were tried in courts of law and imprisoned. Some were executed. All have been denounced in infamy and their descendants are either in profound denial or remorse.

"It would be the ultimate naivety to believe that those who support Donald Trump do not know these facts, which are readily available to any high school age citizen of this country. One does not have to be a historian or even a college graduate to be able to follow the reasoning of the solemn promises of Donald Trump to their logical conclusion. Nor does one, in view of the statistics cited from the Pew Research Center, have any reason to think that it is impossible that a determinedly willing participant in one of these horrors might be next to me in the next Catholic Church that I might happen to visit."

I know nothing about the ultimate moral guilt or innocence of individual participants in these acts, but I know the judgement of of history and I know that history repeats, so there is some probability that the children and grandchildren of participants in operations such as these and possibly even earlier, similar operations, will have to live with the condemnation of history on their forebears. Mass, forced expulsions live on in infamy.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 months ago

Mr.Erlinger,
Watch Senator Obama on immigration in 2005
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfIjgkuOdOo
Did you support President Obama's policies,did you protest?

President Trump should simply repeat his words and watch the media go crazy.

Tom Fields
2 months ago

Wow! The varying views over illegal immigrants are amazing! (The NAZI deportations were horrible! designed to steal their lands). Some came to the US over the decades and integrated.
A Nation-State must control its borders if it is to be Sovereign. The Sovereign Nation-State must protect its citizens from the crimes, costs, diseases and disruption of unlimited illegal onslaughts. Certainly--we must invest in ridding the world of the dictators, movements and exploiters who cause mass movement of peoples away from their homes. The Catholic Church can and must increase its help to these populations. However, open borders is not the answer. Many Nations in Europe are proving this. England and Sweden are examples of the results of "open borders"---rape, crime, sections were police dare not enter, financial burdens...
Pray--- rebuild the US Military to stabilize troubled areas--after 8 years of Obama's purposeful neglect---Call on all Churches---of all denominations to contribute money and people to care for the displaced---with the hope of returning them to their homes.

Henry George
2 months ago

Does a nation have a primary obligation to its own citizens before anyone
else ?
Is there any other nation in the world that has such porous borders as
the United States and where un-documented Migrants can so easily find work.
How is it just to Poor American Citizens that they must compete and indeed lose jobs to un-documented Migrants ?

I am in favour of Amnesty to all Migrants in America but then a far
stricter Border Control.

If there are jobs that no Americans will take then allow Guest Workers
to take them but ensure that the Guest Workers are paid a fair and living
wage and do not have to work in dangerous situations.

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