Trump’s Immigration Orders Endanger Immigrant and Refugee Families, America’s Future, and American Values

January 26, 2017

Washington, D.C., January 26, 2017—Yesterday, President Trump began rolling out a series of deeply damaging executive orders on immigration and refugee policy, proposing steps that endanger the safety, economic security, and wellbeing of children, families, and communities. These orders undermine our identity as a land of opportunity for immigrants and refugees.

The orders would drastically increase spending on both border and interior enforcement, including building a wall on the southern border, expanding immigrant detention, and increasing collaboration with local police for immigration purposes. The president also announced plans to withhold federal funding from cities that have adopted inclusive pro-immigrant policies. Given that one-quarter of U.S. children have an immigrant parent, this package of orders, if implemented, would destabilize millions of lives and imperil our future economically and civically.

“CLASP is strongly opposed to President Trump’s plans to ramp up immigration enforcement, which would separate millions of children from their parents and terrorize whole communities,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of CLASP. "It’s especially alarming that he intends to expand the use of local police to enforce immigration laws, which will increase racial profiling and weaken community trust in law enforcement.” She concluded: “Every aspect of these proposals violates core values and threatens our security.”

Moreover, the President intends to undercut refugee resettlement programs by temporarily shutting down the program, significantly reducing the number of refugees accepted into the United States, and banning asylum seekers and other individuals from war-torn Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries.

At risk under the new interior enforcement orders are more than 5 million children living with at least one undocumented parent, the vast majority of whom are U.S. citizens. Research consistently shows that children who are separated from a parent due to immigration enforcement—as well as those children who simply live in fear of possible separation—suffer detrimental impacts to their mental and physical health, economic stability, academic performance, and overall development. Proposals that harm these citizen children have lasting implications for their future educational and economic success and undermine our country’s collective future.

Also at risk are the children and families fleeing extreme violence in Central America and seeking protection in the United States. That population has grown significantly in recent years and the vast majority have proven to be valid asylum seekers. Thousands of vulnerable mothers and children will also be endangered and families will continue to be separated as a result of the ban on individuals from certain countries.

“We’re also gravely concerned with proposals that would endanger vulnerable refugees, including expanding family detention, expediting the credible-fear determination process, and reducing the number of refugees admitted to the U.S.,” added Golden.  “At a time of unprecedented global crisis, it is shameful that our president would betray America’s proud history as a safe haven for refugees. CLASP rejects these harmful, misguided policies that seek to further divide our communities; create a climate of fear; and criminalize our immigrant, refugee, and Muslim neighbors.”

CLASP stands with immigrants and refugees as well as those who serve them. We will work closely with advocacy and legal partners at the federal, state, and local levels to push back on these proposals. And we urge all those who care about children and families, as well as economic justice and opportunity, to reach out to Congress as well as state and local decision makers. Together, we can fight back against these damaging proposals.

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CLASP is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions that work for low-income people. With nearly 50 years of trusted expertise, a deeply knowledgeable staff, and a commitment to practical yet visionary approaches to opportunity for all, CLASP lifts up the voices of poor and low-income children, families, and individuals, equips advocates with strategies that work, and helps public officials put good ideas into practice. The organization’s solutions directly address the barriers that individuals and families face because of race, ethnicity, and immigration status, in addition to low income. For more information, visit www.clasp.org and follow @CLASP_DC.

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