When he was a candidate, Donald Trump’s words were a threat to immigrants. Now that he has been elected, uncertainty reigns regarding the way he will fulfill his campaign promise to deport people. Make no mistake: The danger is more present than ever.
The first signs are quite unsettling.
Trump said on Sunday that he expected to deport between two and three million undocumented people, which, according to his estimates, is the number of “gang members, drug traffickers” and criminals living in the United States. At first glance, that seems to be similar to the idea Obama is currently implementing. However, citing such figures is worrisome because they look more like a goal number, and we can never depend on them only expelling dangerous people.
This is especially true when Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the person working with the next president’s transition team in the area of immigration. He is the author of Arizona’s AB1070 law and other immigration laws and bills in the states of Alabama, Pennsylvania, Texas and Missouri which were later stuck down by judges who considered them unconstitutional.
To Kobach, it is not necessary to be a criminal to be deported. In June, he suggested that immigration agents should ask to see the papers of the demonstrators participating in protests, and detain any undocumented people advocating or testifying in front of state legislators. “I don’t think that’s going to happen until Donald Trump becomes president,” he said in the same interview.
The likelihood that the President Obama’s order on DACA will be eliminated – and that 750,000 people who work, study and are part of this country because they grew up here will be left exposed – is cause for fear. It will be an iniquity if the information that the federal government possesses about them is used to their detriment.
The positive part is the reaction seen in cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and other jurisdictions at risk of losing federal funding for being considered “sanctuaries.” New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio is considering destroying the data submitted by undocumented people when they applied for municipal identification, which the law allows him to do.
This is a difficult moment. Fear of change won; the belief that we can return to an “idyllic” past in which minorities were invisible and immigrants are unrecognizable won. Today, we must be vigilant, listen to the recommendations of community organizations and show solidarity until the storm passes. Because this too shall pass.