In a cover story published today (June 16), Slate lays out 60 scenes from life as an undocumented immigrant in President Donald Trump’s America, pulled from the Columbia Journalism School’s Global Migration Project.
Slate starts with February 20, the day the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued two memos on immigration enforcement. The following day, 25-year-old Edwin Romero, an undocumented youth who would have qualified for citizenship under the proposed (and failed) DREAM Act, was arrested for a traffic violation but, ultimately held overnight in jail on an “immigration hold.” Then, in March, there was a teacher in Honolulu who wrote a staff-wide email that he wouldn’t teach any undocumented student. The examples go on and on—up until April 20, exactly 60 days after the DHS memos.
As Slate points out, fewer than 9 percent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees have been connected to violent crime. Per the story:
When ICE detained 84 foreign nationals in a sweep of the Pacific Northwest, for example, their press release led with the arrest of a previously deported Mexican man charged with the rape of a child. The agency did not mention 21-year-old Emmanuel Ayala Frutos, who had come to the United States when he was 6 and was granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2013. In February, he entered a plea in a county court for possession of a butterfly knife. The judge in the case said Ayala Frutos posed no danger to the community; nevertheless, ICE agents picked him up at his Portland, Oregon, home and detained him for 19 days.
There’s a gulf between Ayala Frutos’ story and the story ICE tells.
And while the previous administration under former President Barack Obama did not protect the immigrant community entirely either, it did make an effort to keep families together, with Obama setting policies to protect undocumented parents and their children. Tellingly, the Trump administration yesterday (June 15) rescinded significant portions of these policies. As Slate put it:
In the early and middle years of President Barack Obama’s time in office, deportations reached historic highs—more than 400,000 annually. Hundreds of thousands of children were separated from their parents; communities were ruptured. But in the last two years of the Obama era, deportations fell nearly by half, and over his presidency a growing proportion of deportations were of people detained at the border rather than taken from their homes. Under pressure from immigrants’ rights groups, the Obama administration ordered immigration agents to focus on recent arrivals and people convicted of crimes, and avoid targeting caretakers of young children and people with physical or mental disabilities.
Read the complete Slate story here to discover the daily tribulations of the immigrant community under Trump.