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Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) decries the president’s odious efforts to shroud the U.S. immigration system in nativism and xenophobia. Today the president signed two orders targeting immigrants and asylum seekers, and he is expected tomorrow to sign an order suspending American refugee admissions and immigration benefits for individuals from predominantly Muslim countries.

These policies reveal the president’s shameful ignorance of American history, U.S. immigration law, and our international obligations, undermining America’s most basic due process protections and creating a fertile breeding ground for racial profiling and other civil rights abuses. Forcing local police to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement violates the U.S. Constitution, puts public safety at risk, and is at odds with the most basic tenets of community policing. The policies we expect the president to announce tomorrow will go a step further, treading on America’s international human rights obligations and adopting religious discrimination as a national policy.

Today’s orders, among other actions:

  • Instruct the executive branch to expand the U.S. southern border wall to block the flight of Central American asylum seekers fleeing extreme violence and build additional detention centers to hold those who are apprehended at the border
  • Reinstate the failed Secure Communities program
  • Aim to bully and coerce  cities and localities that protect their immigrant communities through sanctuary policies by stripping vital federal funds
  • Seek to expand nationally the infamous “287(g)” program which co-opts local law enforcement agencies and deputizes their officers to act as federal immigration agents
  • Subject all noncitizens to an expansive new enforcement dragnet without fairness or due process

NIJC will challenge these unlawful policies in federal court and work with partners to fight their implementation. NIJC encourages community allies to:

  • Call local and congressional elected officials and tell them to support immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Speak out in support of sanctuary city ordinances. Thank city council members and mayors and tell them you expect them to stand firm in defending immigrants.
  • Talk to friends, colleagues, and neighbors about the importance of supporting immigrants and asylum seekers in our communities. Read NIJC’s toolkit to become an ambassador for immigrant rights.

Read NIJC's annotated versions of the interior enforcement and border enforcement executive orders.

Read the executive orders here and here on the White House website.