32BJ SEIU and others respond to new deportation plan
Stephon Johnson | 2/23/2017, 10:19 a.m.
After getting shot down by the courts the first time, President Donald Trump’s administration has drafted a new plan to deport undocumented immigrants.
The Department of Homeland Security released new and expansive deportation policies via a pair of memos, signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, that could lead to millions being deported from the country.
The memos state that undocumented immigrants will be deported if they’ve been convicted or simply charged with a criminal offense. The undocumented will also be deported if they “have abused any program related to the receipt of public benefits” or have engaged in “fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a government agency.” Thus, if an undocumented immigrant received government assistance in any form, used a fake Social Security number to work or got caught committing a minor traffic violation, he or she can be deported.
“Homeland Security’s sweeping deportation plan is just the latest evidence that our broken immigration system will continue to spread fear in our communities and break up hardworking families unless Congress acts to fix it,” said 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa in a statement. “As one of the largest immigrant worker’s unions in the country, 32BJ SEIU has been at the forefront in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Figueroa continued, “The current administration’s ‘deport everyone’ approach is not only an affront to our values as a nation of immigrants but is already punishing hardworking families who are deeply rooted in our communities.”
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the updated immigration enforcement procedures from DHS sow mass confusion and panic in immigrant communities and fly in the face of what the United States represents.
“Drastically increasing the use of expedited removal and essentially eliminating the priorities for deportation may play well to some of the president’s supporters, but these actions do not make us safer,” stated Henderson. “Immigrants who have been working peacefully here for years should not be on the same footing as violent criminals, but under this new guidance, they are. When everyone is a target—when we push the undocumented into hiding—we raise the likelihood for unreported exploitation and abuse.”
As part of the new guidelines, immigration officials have the ability to deport anyone they deem a threat to national security or public safety. Also, according to ProPublica, DHS confirmed that they’re working on a plan to send all undocumented immigrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border back to Mexico, even if they’re not Mexican citizens.
Figueroa isn’t letting that happen without a fight.
“The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are here for the same reasons as generations before them—to build a better life for themselves and their children,” stated Figueroa. “Common sense reform would reduce the exploitation of immigrant workers and reduce employers’ incentive to hire undocumented workers. This means ensuring that all workers—immigrant and native-born—have full and complete access to the protection of labor, health and safety and other laws.”