I've received many calls and emails this week. Immigrants and their supporters are anxious about what Donald Trump's presidency will mean for them. Here are a few thoughts (but no answers):
Individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are worried that their lives are going to be torn apart. DACA has been an inspiration to me as I have seen young people use their education and talents to work in their chosen professions and to improve their lives and communities. It will be a great loss for these U.S. educated individuals with strong ties here to once again be unable to work or drive legally.
President-Elect Trump has said that he intends to immediately cancel "unconstitutional executive action[s]" including DACA. It is unknown whether he will allow those with DACA to continue working until their authorizations expire or will immediately cancel all employment authorizations and deferred action.
The loss of DACA will hurt us all.
Individuals who are in the U.S. unlawfully are subject to removal (deportation). The Obama administration has already removed or deported more people than any other president. They have concentrated efforts on those with significant criminal convictions. Mr. Trump says he will "begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country." The Obama administration already has the Immigration Courts backlogged for years with removal cases. The Trump administration will need to pour considerable money into the Immigration Courts to move faster than his predecessor.
I am concerned that he will expand the definition of "criminal alien" to include minor traffic offenses, including driving without a license. This will lead to racial profiling and fear of police in our communities.
Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and author of numerous egregious and unconstitutional immigration laws (think racial profiling in Arizona), has announced that he will be on Mr. Trump's transition team to advise him on immigration issues. It is deeply troubling (but not surprising) that Mr. Kobach will be influencing immigration policy in the Trump administration.
As I said, no answers ...