Donald Trump received harsh criticism last month from politicians, human rights organizations, and cities like Chicago over a planned roundup of immigrant families. He has since said he will delay the raids, holding the well-being of these families as political hostage while he strives for a political win.
These raids are just the most recent of the inhumane policies this administration has put forth. Children have been taken from their families and held at private detention facilities. The current administration is arguing against asylum seekers and blocks necessities for those held in government custody. Children are dying.
This administration has an empathy problem.
It’s at least one possible explanation for the administration’s cruel policies. Fox News reported that Trump was delaying the raids to force Congress to “work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.” This quick turnaround on a large-scale Immigration and Customs Enforcement—ICE—operation shows these raids are not necessary for the safety of our country. Trump believes he can use ICE as his personal arsenal against Congress to get what he wants.
A 2018 NPQ article described the chaos of immigration raids. People watch helicopters and ICE officials storm homes in their neighborhoods. Children are left parentless as community organizations and leaders struggle to piece the community back together. Elizabeth Oglesby, a professor at Arizona University, was quoted saying, “Large-scale raids are experienced locally as disasters, even by those not directly affected.”
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ICE Acting Director Mark Morgan told ABC News that ICE was planning to target families in a list of major cities. “We’re trying to send a message to the family units that don’t come here and don’t put your life at risk, your children’s life at risk,” he said.
This administration’s leadership will never know the fear of helicopters and armed officials ripping their families from their beds in front of their entire community. They will never feel the crushing despair that accompanies finally finding somewhere safe, just to hear the news raids planned to target your family.
One city targeted in the raids, Chicago, is fighting back. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city would not be cooperating with ICE officials, telling the administration to “back off.” An NBC 5 article detailed the mayor’s plans to cut off access to the police department’s databases. She said, “We have cut ICE off so they cannot use info gathered by CPD to help facilitate their immoral round-up of immigrant families.”
Cities, individuals, and the politicians fighting against the proposed raids do so with an understanding of how important immigrants are to their communities. The Pew Research Center estimated “more than 40 million people living in the US were born in another country.” This 40 million translates to about 13 percent of the US population and represents almost every country in the world. That diversity brings immeasurable value to the United States and its communities, adding culture and knowledge to communities in an authentic way.
Immigrants come from all over the world to the United States in pursuit of new lives. Their success is the American dream. Maybe it’s harder for some to remember that, having never had to chase that dream themselves.—Sarah Miller