President Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts are not friends of immigration. Removing millions of illegal immigrants from the United States, regardless of the good lives they've built for themselves here, is one of this administration's pet projects. Recent immigration policies proposed by the GOP though aren't just about deporting immigrants, but punishing them as criminals.
The Intercept reported on three new pieces of legislation proposed by Republican lawmakers that would not only give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the tools necessary for mass deportations, but effectively turn millions of immigrants who have committed no crimes except being here illegally into criminals.
"Spearheaded by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), two of the bills pertain to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), laying out new powers and responsibilities for both agencies, while a third, introduced by Goodlatte and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), takes aim at a wide range of issues in immigration enforcement," the article states.
"That third bill, the 'Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act,' which appeared in a tweeted photo of White House strategist Steve Bannon’s policy agenda, would see immigration violations traditionally treated as civil infractions transformed into criminal violations, punishable by up to 20 years in prison," the author continues. "Speaking before judiciary committee members Thursday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York), said the provision would 'turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight.' Nadler added that the legislation was 'straight out of the Donald Trump mass deportation playbook.'"
According to Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois), the Davis-Oliver bill extends to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), commonly known as Dreamers, who were protected under former President Barack Obama's administration. It would also defund sanctuary states and cities if they refuse to cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security. Last, but certainly not least, this "draconian bill," as Schneider described it, would heavily arm ICE agents with equipment used by the military and allow them to arrest people without a warrant.
Frankly, it looks like the GOP is laying the foundation to both further increase the profits of private prison companies and industries that rely on inmate labor and to escalate violence against immigrants. If these proposals turn into laws, they will do nothing to protect Americans. On the contrary, they'll go a long way in making the U.S. much less safe.