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Cities and Schools Prepare to Battle Trump on Undocumented

December 1, 2016
Plain English Version
Trump supporters in Los Angeles, July 10, 2015. Photo by REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Trump supporters in Los Angeles.  Photo by REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Where are the undocumented? Many, if not most, are in schools. They are living in big cities. As a candidate, Trump vowed to send the undocumented back to their home countries. He said he would send their families with them.

As president, Trump may say, forget it. It was just campaign talk. That would betray many backers. They are the ones who oppose undocumented immigrants. They expect deporting to begin.

DACA allows certain students to stay, study and work in the US. What happens if he tears up the order that created the program?

The election brought a crisis to colleges with undocumented students.

First, they are telling any students who are out of the country to come home. They want them to return before Trump is sworn in on January 20, 2016. They are fearful he might not allow them back in the US.

More than 250 school officials signed a letter calling on US leaders to continue the DACA program. One school leader said, “My greatest fear is that we will either frighten these students.  Or give them false hope. I cannot imagine that we would… remove them. It makes no sense. It is counterintuitive in every way.”

Sanctuary cities are on the same course. Most of them say they will not help the federal goverment deport the undocumented. That is, unless they were criminals.

More than 500 counties and cities have some kind of sanctuary policy. An attorney said, “Cities may not have the power to give people rights. But they have a lot of power of resistance. And that’s what they are displaying right now.”

There are many ways the federal government can enforce immigration laws. In the end the courts will give them the power they request. They will be able to find, hold and deport students and others. And the federal government has many means of enforcement. That includes withholding funds from cities and states.

But expect many schools and cities to block enforcement. There could be court battles. There could be civil disobedience.  There will be politics. More than 700,000 young people in the DACA program face this dilemma.

Sources: The New York Times November 27, 2016; The Christian Science Monitor November 25, 2016

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