As a presidential nominee, Donald Trump made a campaign promise to immediately deport 3 million undocumented immigrants. Now that he’s President, what can the undocumented community expect to happen and when?
In his first week in office, President Trump put into place several executive orders which increase the authority of immigration enforcement officers and could lead to increased deportation. There are also concerns about what will be done with young undocumented immigrants protected by DACA and sanctuary cities.
Will Trump be able to immediately deport 3 million undocumented immigrants?
Likely not. Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officer John Sandweg said ICE data shows that only a few hundred thousand individuals can be removed per year. Currently, detention resources are already overwhelmed.
However, Trump’s executive orders did give immigration officers broader authority to deport and called for the hiring of an additional 10,000 immigration officers.
The Obama administration prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who threatened public safety or national security, had ties to criminal gang activity, committed serious felony offenses or were habitual misdemeanor criminal offenders. Trump’s order extends that, using only the broad definition of “criminal” to define a threat to public safety. Experts say this definition could apply to any undocumented immigrant.
“I think the idea of saying there’s a limited number of people can be deported in a given year, let’s make sure that they’re the most violent and most dangerous, that makes sense,” he said as reported by CNN, “and this seems to be a reversal of that policy and I think endangers public safety as a result.”
Will DACA recipients be targeted for deportation?
Likely not. President Trump has expressed sympathy towards young undocumented immigrants and his administration is currently accepting DACA applications.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an executive action put in place under the Obama administration that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at a young age. Specifically, it provides 2-year protection from deportation and the right to work. Currently, 700,000 young people are protected under DACA.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president “understands” the situation that undocumented students are in.” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stated that President Trump has no immediate plans to use his executive powers to undo DACA.
“I think we’re going to work with the House and Senate leadership, as well as to get a long-term solution on that issue,” Priebus told “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to make any commitments to you, but … I’m obviously foreshadowed there a little bit.”
Will Sanctuary Cities be forced to give over undocumented inhabitants?
It’s unclear. As of now, Trump’s executive orders only threaten to take away funding from cities if they refuse to comply with federal deportation requests.
However, several cities have challenged Trump’s executive order including San Francisco, Portland, and New York. As of now, no funding has actually been removed.