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On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that the Department of Homeland Security will be adopting sweeping changes in the enforcement of immigration laws. The announcement was communicated via two memos issued by DHS. More information can be found here.

Trump Deportation Force

One of the changes authorizes an increase in the number of immigration and border agents by 15,000an increase that appears to support the build up of a “deportation force”, one of Donald Trump's campaign promises.

In a 27-page report entitled, "The Trump Memos," the ACLU outlines the potential Constitutional violations inherent in the deployment of a so called “deportation force”. The ACLU's position is that massive immigration enforcement would erode civil liberties of undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.

With the exception of the Dreamers, all other undocumented immigrants are subject to deportation. In some cases some individuals could face deportation without a hearing.

In addition to increasing the number of agents, one of the most notable changes is that with the exception of the Dreamers, all other undocumented immigrants are subject to deportation. In some cases some individuals could face deportation without a hearing.

The ACLU maintains that a deportation effort of this magnitude would lead to a systematic reliance on racial profiling and illegal detentions and would result in rampant Fourth Amendment, Due Process and Equal Protection violations. These are the very protections that form the cornerstone of our civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.

Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father whose public fight with Donald Trump started when Khan implored the then-presidential candidate to "read the Constitution", awakened the nation to the importance of having an understanding of the document that underpins the legal framework of this nation. Shortly after Khan's appearance at the Democratic National Convention, the ACLU was inundated with requests for pocket sized Constitutions. You can order yours here.

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Speaking on behalf of the ACLU of Southern California, Legal Director Ahilan Arulanantham told KPCC's Larry Mantle that he thought the memos might present some legal vulnerables to the Trump administration—an administration that has been straddled with challenges since day one.

The state of California has been on a collision course with the Trump administration on this and several other issues. A showdown between the administration and Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento might be in the making. Since November, California law makers have been rushing to pass a slate of new laws to put the state’s undocumented population as far out of reach of federal authorities as possible. Donald Trump has called the state, "Out of Control".

It remains to be seen what will come of this escalation in immigration enforcement but if implemented, the deportation of millions of individuals will have a rippling effect that could impact the vast majority of Americans. The contributions made by undocumented workers, which for the most part goes unacknowledged, help to keep the American economy afloat.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently produced a study that outlines detailed fiscal effects of the impact of the immigrant population on the U.S. economy. The Science Christian Monitor called this report, “the most comprehensive study of its kind”. In it, they claim that immigration has benefited the nation's economy. The data they used to conduct the study included both documented and undocumented immigration – still, the overall impact was positive.

Analysis of the costs associated with employing a “deportation force” and the indirect economic and social costs of having families torn apart isn't discussed by the proponents of mass deportation. Also missing from the debate is the role that U.S. Trade agreements and other globalization policies played in creating conditions south of the border that caused millions to flee north in the first place.

It's been established that the negative affects of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Mexico was a major driver for the huge influx of immigrants from Mexico. In a piece published by the Political Research Associates, the writer outlines how globalization and NAFTA caused migration from Mexico. Writer David Bacon said “When NAFTA was passed two decades ago, its boosters promised it would bring “First World” status for the Mexican people. Instead, it prompted a great migration north.”

The Nation Magazine published a piece that argues that the U.S. ‘Free Trade’ policies strengthen corporate dominance and steadily undermine democracy in Central American countries by encouraging exploitation and anti-union violence. Like NAFTA, CAFTA lead to a Central American migration crisis that has been politicized by our law makers but largely ignored when the immigration debate plays out in mainstream corporate media.

Sharon Kyle 2013

Sharon Kyle
Publisher, LA Progres