U.S. Border Patrol agents check passports at the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry, where the U.S. and Mexico border meet, as people walk across the bridge to enter the United States on June 20, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. Joe Raedle—Getty Images
Deportations and family separations are nothing new for this country, but the number of deportations and family separations have become staggering since Trump was inaugurated as President.
According to numbers released by the US Department of Homeland Security on December 5, 2017, from the start of Trump's administration through the end of September 2017, the number of immigrants seized and deported from the interior of the country rather than at the border has increased by 42%. Most of these immigrants were taken from families and communities that love and depend on them. Immigration arrests of people with no criminal convictions nearly tripled during this period, as well.
“The numbers and accounts of the people who are being deported make clear that long-term immigrants with strong US ties are aggressively and systematically being scooped up and deported,” said Clara Long, senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch. “These are not outliers or a smattering of cases; instead, this is the brutal, destructive face of Trump immigration policy.”
Once Trump was in office he, almost immediately, signed two executive orders that widened the guidelines for enforcement officers in their search for noncitizens. ICE is now allowed to remove a noncitizen if an immigration officer deems that person poses "a risk to public safety or national security." And under the Trump administration, any immigrant in the country illegally is considered a threat to national security. Essentially, Trump made it so any unauthorized citizen is a target for arrest, detention and deportation, not just recent border-crossers and noncitizens with certain criminal convictions, as it was under the Obama administration.
This an important issue to all of us here working on This Boy's Vida. The series deals heavily with the issues of immigration, ICE, deportations and family dynamics. Joe's family is constantly running from the immigration authorities, desperately trying to find a safe place to settle down. Joe and Cynthia are forced to attend multiple schools during their formative years, making it nearly impossible to feel motivated to succeed academically or socially.
We believe that forcing people to live on the run for the mere 'crime' of coming to America for a better life is inhumane and detrimental to our society and economy. As Joe and Cynthia's experiences will show, treating immigrants like criminals tears down family relationships and hurts productivity levels for all family members.