Growing Concern Surrounds Increased Enforcement
February 9, 2017
Harbingers of Escalated Enforcement?
Farmers’ Concerns, Focus on ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Highlight the Consequences
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Concerns are rising that the Trump administration soon will begin to carry out a major increase in immigration enforcement as outlined in his Jan. 25 executive orders.
Such an increase would have major implications for local law enforcement, business leaders and American taxpayers.
The orders on border security and interior enforcement each called for a major increase in enforcement activity, putting millions of immigrants — including some here legally, and many more with American-citizen children and other family members — at risk of deportation.
One flashpoint is so-called sanctuary cities, for which there is no agreed-upon definition. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the state’s legislature are taking aim at cities that decline to enforce federal immigration law — with negative implications not only for the cities but for the state’s economy. But law enforcement leaders in Texas and elsewhere have spoken out against policies that would undermine community trust, pushing immigrants deeper into the shadows and making immigrant victims and witnesses less likely to report crimes to law enforcement.
Concern also is emerging among farmers — even those who voted for Trump — that their labor force could disappear under stepped-up enforcement.
“If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist,” the New York Times quotes Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg, California, as saying. “If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster.”
“The very real impacts of the president’s enforcement-related executive orders are starting to become clear,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Implementing extreme enforcement measures will cost American workers and communities dearly.
“To avoid moving our food production, and the American jobs that come with it, offshore, farmers need labor. To keep us safe, law enforcement officials need to be able to work with everyone in the community. Rather than policies that are dangerous in their scope, Congress and the administration must develop and encourage smart immigration enforcement that keeps us safe, supports American workers and doesn’t break the bank.”