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Trump's Immigration Changes Might "Breed Fear" In Communities

The fence between the U.S. and Mexico along the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.
Tony Webster/Flickr

The Department of Homeland Security released a pair of memos yesterday detailing the goals of President Trump’s revisions to immigration policy.

The directives declare the government will expand detention facilities, enlist local law enforcement to help catch undocumented immigrants and, most significantly, will no longer allow exemptions for undocumented immigrants without criminal records.

Proponents of these movements say stricter policies will prevent undocumented immigrants from living in the U.S. for decades without consequence.

Critics of the directives say they will build a culture of fear that will prevent undocumented immigrants from coming forward to help enforcers with community policing.

“It breeds fear in the community, of course,” said national security expert Juliette Kayyem on Boston Public Radio today. “It will lead to self-deportation; I believe there will be members of the community who just don’t want to live under a cloud and they leave. [It] will cause a lot of unrest with our mayors and governors.”

Kayyem said her concerns lay in the expansion of expedited removal.

This policy previously allowed the government to easily deport immigrants who had been in the country less than two weeks, deeming them “in transit” to avoid having them appear in front of a judge.

Now, the Trump administration says it plans to use expedited removal to deport undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than two years.

“That to me is the significant change, because in two years you can establish some ties to the community,” said Kayyem.

She pointed out the changes are not inconsistent with policies that might have been adopted by establishment Republicans like George W. Bush, and said she did not predict the start of mass deportations.

Kayyem said the scale of changes still give her pause.

“What makes me nervous, as it probably does everyone else, is essentially you do have this broad language, you have ICE enforcement agents... you have talk of a border wall,” she said. “You have a whole zeitgeist about immigration which has shifted 180 degrees, which is essentially, ‘Deport.’”

Juliette Kayyem is a national security expert, the host of The SCIF podcast and founder of Kayyem Solutions. To hear her interview in its entirety, click on the audio link above.

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