Insight

Trump and Immigration: Separating Truth from Fiction

Deportations aren’t up, but the people who are being deported are more “newsworthy.”

Trump and Immigration
Harlan G. York

Harlan G. York

January 8, 2018 10:18 AM

The most notable public perception of President Donald Trump and immigration policy has manifested in daily stories about deportations.

These heartbreaking pieces—parents detained and removed from their kids; husbands and wives permanently separated; and adults returned to nations where they have not lived since childhood—have served to humanize a crisis that went on long before the Trump administration.

However, the glaring difference between this administration and the previous one is the lack of prosecutorial discretion under Trump. The reason for the seemingly unending news of deportations has to do with the individuals now being removed from the United States.

Deportations aren’t up, but the people who are being deported are more “newsworthy.”

For many years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) followed guidelines to determine who should stay and who should go. A policy of discretion made sense based on humanitarian factors as well as proper use of government resources.

Since January 2017, ICE has been working with a virtual zero tolerance policy when handling cases of foreign nationals previously ordered deported but who have reasonable arguments to stay in the United States.

In addition to this inhuman treatment of noncriminals with close ties to America over long periods, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security is also acting in a manner that fails to exact justice. This numbers game looks good to people who oppose immigration. Throwing immigrants out also sounds right to them.

The reality is: abandoning prosecutorial discretion creates a mess.

Now we have more than 650,000 immigrants awaiting trial, and ICE adds more daily. Imagine a criminal justice system with no plea bargains. This is your immigration court across the nation.

In Chicago, the average wait time for a trial is over 1,000 days. Here in New Jersey, we are looking at more than two years, easily. My firm has certain clients in litigation for more than a decade. The state of Texas has 100,000 pending cases in its immigration courts.

And ironically, Trump is deporting fewer immigrants that President Barack Obama did.

From January to June 2016, Obama’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 70,603 criminals. In the same timeframe in 2017, Trump’s “deportation force” removed 61,370.

All of the constant anti-immigrant rhetoric from Trump is particularly foolish considering his record as a businessman with a reliance on foreign labor.

Even now, Mar-a-Lago resort and the Trump National Golf Club, both in Florida as well as his golf club in New Jersey, sponsor immigrants to work on H-2B visas. These people hail from the very same countries where the President deports so many–albeit less than Obama.

Moreover, the Trump-supported RAISE Act is a bad piece of legislation that distorts the impact of immigration on the American economy. As the nonpartisan and independent CATO Institute just pointed out in a brand new study, “Immigration’s long-run relative wage impact on native-born American workers is close to zero.”

Earlier this year, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now White House chief of staff, told Congress, “You’ve got to solve this problem,” referencing the approximately one million immigrants who currently hold temporary protected status and deferred action for childhood arrivals.

Kelly added that he did not wish to deport this group.

A year ago, Trump announced that an immigration plan would be delivered by April 2017, with “a lot of heart.”

Instead he rescinded DACA. A punt to Congress.

We’re still waiting for a plan that looks like it has heart.

------------------------------

Newark-based immigration attorney Harlan York is former chair of the Immigration Section NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair of the NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York has appeared nationally on CBS This Morning and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Bloomberg, Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He has been honored twice as a “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®.

Related Articles

Chain Migration Solutions Desperately in Search of a Problem


by Aaron C. Hall

The White House insists that any new law giving Dreamers a permanent place in the United States also stop what it refers to as the chain migration problem.

Chain Migration

Smart Policy and Smart Compassion


by David P. Berry

Why it makes sense to protect the Dreamers.

Dreamers

In the News: South Florida


by Compiled by Nicole Ortiz

A summary of newsworthy content from South Florida lawyers and law firms.

South Florida In the News 2018

Employers Must Soon Use Yet Another New I-9 Form


by Fisher Phillips

New document could be liability trap for unsuspecting employers.

Begin Using the New Form Now

The Price of Admission


by Janice Zhou

States and the federal government are engaged in a pitched battle over immigration and refugee settlement—with the legal profession caught in the middle, taking fire from both sides.

Immigration Reform in Connecticut

WATCH: Supreme Court Rules DACA Stays


by Best Lawyers

Three immigration law attorneys join the CEO of Best Lawyers to discuss the Supreme Court's decision to block the Trump administration's effort to stop the DACA program.

Panel: DACA SCOTUS Ruling

U.K. Introduces Revisions to Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules


by Gregory Sirico

Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules in

Paying It Forward


by Best Lawyers

One woman’s journey from immigrant daughter to immigration attorney: her passion, purpose, and pursuit of excellence.

A Woman's Journey From Immigrant Daughter to

Cost of Entry


by Best Lawyers

As naturalization fees increase, a local nonprofit provides financial relief for immigration

Financial Relief for Immigration in Florida

Loophole or Fatal Flaw?


by Joseph Begonis

Canada's Best Lawyers share their thoughts on the Safe Third Country Agreement

What Is the Safe Third Country Agreement?

Traversing the Immigration Frontier


by Best Lawyers

Brian Graham Interview LOTY

Track Check


by Anthony J. LaRocca, Linda S. Stein, Peter W. Denton and Sarah Nural

A broad-gauge look at the latest trends in U.S. railroad law.

Infrastructure Under Trump 2019

U.S. Business Immigration: Year-in-Review


by Christian S. Allen

For more reasons than are probably appropriate to include here today, 2017 will be forever be burned into the memories of everybody in the U.S. immigration industry, and all HR and legal professionals who were involved in hiring and/or employing foreign workers in the U.S. No matter your political persuasion, 2017 turned out to not be anything like we all expected at the beginning of the year, fol

U.S. Business Immigration: Year-in-Review

Interagency Cooperation: Raising the Bar for Immigration Compliance


by Kathleen Campbell Walker

Stove-piped legal representation is not advisable (e.g., only focusing on one agency segment or one portion of a filing process).

Immigration Compliance

Immigration Worksite Compliance Issues for Employers


by Maria I. Casablanca

Immigration worksite enforcement has become a balancing act between verifying eligibility to work and avoiding discrimination; thus it has merged two fields of law: labor and employment law with immigration and nationality law.

Immigration Worksite Compliance

H-1B Planning for Fiscal Year 2019


by Lisa Koenig

Employers should be prepared to pivot.

H1-B Planning

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

Could Reign Supreme End with the Queen?


by Sara Collin

Canada is revisiting the notion of abolishing the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, but many Canadians and lawmakers are questioning if Canada could, should and would follow through.

Teacup on saucer over image of Queen's eye

IN PARTNERSHIP

2022: Another Banner Year


by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Thirteen Years of Excellence


by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes