Miami, FL – January 25, 2017 – Today, President Trump signed two Executive Orders that have devastating effects on immigrants in our communities and asylum-seekers seeking protection at our borders. Trump’s Orders call for the immediate construction of a wall along the Southwest border; mandatory detention for asylum-seekers; massive expansion of immigration detention centers; the tripling of enforcement officers; the reinstatement of harmful 287(g) partnerships with local law enforcement; and the cancellation of federal grants to cities and counties that refuse to engage in immigration enforcement activities, including Miami.

These Orders are a direct attack on the American tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees. While AI Justice recognizes the critical concerns relating to our national security, the truth is that our borders are more secure than ever.[1] The mandatory detention of asylum-seekers and those in removal proceedings is unconstitutional and terribly misdirected. Asylum-seekers are the most vulnerable of immigrant groups. This kind of response to the threat of terrorism creates a false sense of security and is a senseless waste of US taxpayer money.

Further, the reinstatement of the 287(g) program, which authorizes local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law, is a fruitless effort with damaging effects. President Obama canceled the 287(g) program with the support of local law enforcement agencies across the country, because it was ineffective and inefficient, and eroded the trust local law enforcement worked so hard to build with immigrant communities. 287(g) redirects resources that should be expended on protecting residents from crime, and often results in racial profiling and targeting people simply suspected of being undocumented. The 287(g) program pushes immigrants further into the shadows, making them fearful of reporting crime to local law enforcement, and making everyone less safe.

“AI Justice is committed to defending the rights of all immigrants from unlawful detention, racial profiling, and inhumane immigration laws. We condemn President Trump’s draconian Executive Orders, and call upon Congress to safeguard our American values,” said Michelle M. Ortiz, AI Justice Deputy Director.

[1] Andrew Schneider, “How Much Is Enough When It Comes To Spending On Border Security In Texas?” Houston Public Media, March 29, 2016 and Erica Werner and Nicholas Riccardi, “AP FACT CHECK: Donald Trump on immigration,” Associated Press, September 1, 2016