On Tuesday February 21, President Trump’s administration announced an aggressive change in immigration enforcement aimed largely at deporting a significant number of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. The documents, announced by the Department of Homeland Security, outline the administration’s aim to further Trump’s anti-undocumented immigrants message and campaign promises. The new policies intend to increase the rate of deportation, strip illegal immigrants of their privacy protections, publicize details of all crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and utilize local police officers as immigration enforcement.
This marks a major shift in American immigration policy and a variation from previous U.S. Presidential action regarding the nation’s border. Along with Trump’s promise to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, critics have inquired as to where the administration will obtain the funding to pay for such a large-scale increase in border protection, including thousands of new border agents and the construction of more detention facilities.
The new deportation rules come after President Trump’s assertions on the campaign trail that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes and are a larger threat to US neighborhoods than their native-born counterparts.
Senior Alex Pustelnyk argued that the plan outlined by the Department of Homeland Security to publicize crimes committed by undocumented immigrants is unlikely to achieve a sizable decrease in criminality.
“Trump’s immigration policy will have little to no effect on crime. Immigrants are not concerned with having their name put on a ‘public shame list.’ They are concerned about being separated from their families and forcibly removed from their homes, considering that criminal acts spell almost certain extradition – the risk is simply too high,” Pustelnyk said.
Sophomore Enrique Nunez outlined his stance towards the policy, arguing that it creates an unneeded sense of panic directed towards those living in the U.S. illegally.
“This new federal stance on immigration feeds the fear people have towards undocumented immigrants. It further divides us rather than attempts to unify both sides. I think we need some sort of immigration reform to decrease the number of people coming into this country illegally, but simply deporting them is not the answer we need,” Nunez said.
There have been several controversial variations made to federal immigration policy within Trump’s first 100 days, with the most publicized of these being the January 27th executive order that temporarily banned refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. These orders have sparked resistance from many Colgate faculty, staff and students, including a joint statement from President Brian Casey and President David Wippman of Hamilton College that was sent to members of both communities on Monday.
“While we cannot know the form these changes will take, we are committed to maintaining open and welcoming campus environments and intent on providing as much support to members of our communities as we can,” Casey and Wippman said.
Along with a new immigration webpage on the Colgate website that lists related events and links to resources, the university has hired an immigration lawyer to continually update campus on national policy and meet individually with concerned students.
Senior Nat Smith noted the surplus of time and money used in the search to deport undocumented immigrants.
“It seems that there are so many issues that are markedly more important for the government to spend money on, especially when it’s so clear that most of these immigrants aren’t the threat that Trump makes them out to be,” Smith said.
Regarding the potential effects of such policy change, Pustelnyk outlined his concern about increasing partisanship and economic difficulties.
“Trump’s new immigration policies can only result in massive labor shortages, hefty government expenditure and severe moral harm,” Pustelnyk said. “However, we should not assume that this is Trump’s attempt at sound public policy. If his new immigration policies’ cause cheers from his base and righteous indignation from liberals, then it will likely achieve its intended purpose of further dividing American democracy.”