By Carson K
Immigration is a heavily debated topic in today’s political scene, and as we move further into Donald Trump’s presidency we are beginning to see some of his policies on the matter take action locally. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security released Trump’s plan for depletion which involved deporting 11 million illegal immigrants that came to America during Barack Obama’s presidency. However, one of the main points of the address was that the deportation plan was going to focus on immigrants who committed major crimes, which partially contradicts what we are seeing here in Michigan and across the country.
On February 22, a band of officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested a total of 12 illegal immigrants in Ypsilanti and other immigrant communities in metro Detroit, some of which holding criminal records while others did not. These arrests have continued up to date and have averaged about three per day. According to locals, arrests, alongside house raids, have taken place in public areas such as traffic stops and restaurants, causing other immigrants to fear entering other public spaces. Some communities have gone as far as holding anti-deportation demonstrations and protests to resist the arrest of non-criminal immigrants.
While the majority of ICE arrests and raids nationwide have been targeted towards immigrants with criminal records, about 25% of arrests have been of non-criminal immigrants, according to David Marin, Los Angeles’ field director. In Midwestern states, including Michigan, some raids have shown as little as 69% of the total immigrants apprehended holding criminal records. Senior David Sprinkle weighed in on the topic, “The priority needs to be placed on criminal immigrants, otherwise we are just deporting good american workers and that’s just not right.” Compared to Obama’s immigration control, Trumps “criminal oriented” deportation plan nets over 20% less criminal immigrants than Obama’s administration by the end of 2016.
Some ICE officials defend their program, saying “During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” These officials also said that, “those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.” Sophomore Braden Jascoe and Sophomore Zachary Jacobs agree with this claim, “If they are illegal immigrants that they deserve to be deported. Its doesnt matter if they hold criminal records because they are violating immigration laws when they enter the country.” said Jacobs. Jascoe, agreeing with Jacobs, also said, “If we don’t arrest these immigrants then where do we draw the line? At what point does a ‘good immigrant’ become and a ‘bad immigrant’? As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing wrong with non-criminal immigrants being apprehended.”
Regardless of criminal records or not, the sudden upturn in immigration control arrests in the past few weeks have left communities across the country in panic as families are torn apart.