Friday, February 24, 2017

The Trump Administration's Inhumane Immigration Policies

Guest blogger: Nicole Martinez, University of San Francisco Law Student:

A 26-year-old woman was detained by ICE agents in a Texas hospital where she was awaiting treatment for a brain tumor. Her story begins in El Salvador where she claims an aunt of hers was trying to kill her. Contrary to her claim, a border patrol agent says that she told him she was crossing for work. Giving Sara the benefit of the doubt, her claim for asylum would be fear of death in El Salvador. While in a detention facility on February 10, Sara was complaining about headaches and collapsed leading to her placement in a hospital where they discovered her brain tumor. On February 23, ICE agents returned to the hospital to detain Sara in handcuffs and ankle restraints to move her back to the detention facility. Sara sits today in the detention facility with nosebleeds and sensations of her head exploding. Now, we must ask: To what extent do the current executive orders on immigration fail to see the humanity in people regardless of their race?

The current administration ignores the very basic meaning of humanity while attempting to claim these orders are for the benefit of Americans. The reality may be shocking to many, but immigrants pay taxes; immigrants pay rent; immigrants care for their families; immigrants raise their children to be good, honest, hardworking people; and immigrants do not take for granted their presence in our country. On top of that, immigrants do the labor that most Americans refuse to do and are paid below minimum wage to do it—thereby keeping the price of fruit low for consumers. To stereotype immigrants as hostile rapists and murderers, as terrorists, or even as scum of the earth is exactly what this administration has done and we are now living the consequence of such a negative and bigoted platform.

          Immigration attorneys and judges need to work together to help all those who are seeking asylum in the United States. This country is made up of immigrants, and to deny any person from entering and making a life here seems beyond comprehension. The Trump administration has further signaled they want to get rid of the so-called “catch and release” policy, where migrants caught in the states without permission would be released pending their court dates. Trump has even signaled he wants to send these migrants (regardless of where they are from) to Mexico. The first issue with this is Mexico would have to agree to this set up, which is unlikely given the tense relationship between Peña Nieto and Trump. The second issue is many of the Mexican immigrants that have left Mexico and are seeking asylum are afraid to return because of harm that could be done to them. To send these people back is to send them to their potential deaths by drug cartels or other sources of power disputes within the country and towns. The third issue is sending people from other countries to Mexico when they are not from Mexico; that essentially creates an issue of trafficking immigrants across borders because Trump doesn’t want their presence here. This policy is inherently problematic and potentially a case for the Supreme Court to decide on if Congress doesn’t start writing bills to prevent these types of abuses of power. Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purposes of sexual slavery, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim's rights of movement through coercion. Forcing immigrants to go to Mexico and wait for their court date can easily be seen as coercion if the government refuses to provide a court date if they do not leave. This will be a slippery slope if it is ever put into action.

          Under the potential Trump administration immigration guidelines, Sara has no power to be released to the hospital and may die from her brain tumor. Sara could be sent to Mexico pending her trial without consideration that she is from El Salvador. Even scarier is the thought that Sara could end up staying in a detention facility—also known as a prison—until her court date and again, and could die from her brain tumor while in custody. Given the current move to build more private prisons, Trump has opened the door to further profit by detaining immigrants. We went from a system of mass incarceration—modern day slavery—to make profits off of inmates, to an even scarier thought of mass incarceration of immigrants to make profits off of their labor. There are children and families being detained, sleeping on the concrete floors, eating insufficient meals, and sitting behind bars. This is not the America we had in mind when immigrants flowed across the country in search for gold. Why do we now treat our immigrants as criminals instead of strong and brave people willing to leave what they know for something a little better?


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Your site stinks. I have typed in comments twice, only to have them deleted, when you run an ad.

Posted by: tom graham | Feb 25, 2017 2:38:29 AM

Why do you feel illegal immigrants should be allowed entry to this country ahead of the millions who are waiting for legal immigration? You are letting your feelings get in the way of common sense and fairness. Shame on you.

Posted by: tom graham | Feb 25, 2017 2:40:37 AM

Tom, given the failing system we call immigration where siblings have waited twenty years to be allowed into the country legally, illegal immigration is the RESULT not the cause of our "illegal" immigration problems. If the US had a better immigration system that did not force desperate people to cross illegally, then people would very likely plan ahead like they did forty plus years ago. My grandfather came to this country legally when the US was granting significantly more work visas to Mexico in order to bring hardworking immigrants to this country. At this point, my feelings set aside, immigrants are human beings, and our immigration system dehumanizes them at the expense of your misinformation that illegal immigrants are jumping the line because they aren't patient enough to wait like the legal applicants.

Posted by: Nicole | Feb 25, 2017 10:46:20 PM

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