The Trump administration's new immigration enforcement guidelines in the United States have left many undocumented families on high alert. But enforcement officials were already arresting and detaining people before the plan was released. Earlier this month, 680 undocumented immigrants were arrested in a five-day nationwide enforcement operation. The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, said "approximately 75 percent" of the people arrested were "criminal aliens", which has some asking who were the others?  


The fear of being deported has spread, with many immigrants concerned about the future of the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently said, “Reports of ICE checkpoints, indiscriminate ‘raids’ and sweeps in cities such as San Francisco and Atlanta are false, dangerous and irresponsible”, adding that they have conducted targeted enforcement operations regularly for many years.


Obama’s administration drew criticism for deporting at least 2.7 million undocumented immigrants, more than any of his predecessors. In addition to targeting national security threats and earlier arrivals, they too, prioritised those who had been convicted of a serious crime. In one operation during former President Obama’s second term in 2015, ICE detained 2,059 people.

Immigration advocates have been speaking out and providing resources to those who have been, or might be impacted by the new guidelines. In the second half of The Stream’s two-part conversation, we look at how immigrant communities are responding. 

In this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

Avideh Moussavian @AvidehNILC
Policy attorney, National Immigration Law Center

Jessica Vaughan @JessicaV_CIS
Director of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies


Cesar Vargas @DREAMerJ_D
Co-Director, Dream Action Coalition


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