Following the surprisingly strong electoral victory of Donald Trump to the White House in this year’s presidential election, a spokesperson for a group founded to revive the rejected 2007 DREAM Atct — which would have granted amnesty to minors illegally in the United States — pledged to resist mass deportation of illegal aliens. The spokesperson also called Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel "agents of racism.”
In a statement quoted by the Washington Times, Cristina Jimenez, co-founder of United We Dream (which describes itself as “the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation”) said: “Immigrants are declaring a state of urgency and resilience. Over the coming weeks, our families and community members will need to tap into the incredible strength that brought us to this country and which we use to survive.”
In her statement, Jimenez not only expressed dismay at the election of Trump but also castigated the agents of the federal agencies charged with protecting our borders.
“All people with love in our hearts are angered and disappointed tonight and pledge to resist mass deportation,” she said. “ICE and CBP have proven themselves to be agents of racism and agents of hate.”
Both the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) and the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council — the two unions that represent Border Patrol and ICE agents, respectively, had announced endorsements of Trump during the presidential campaign.
We reported in our article last April that the NBPC’s leaders — including Brandon Judd, the union’s president; Kenneth Palinkas, its past president; Shawn Moran; the union’s vice president; and Chris Cabrera, a spokesperson for the NBPC’s Rio Grande Valley council — have all been vocal in criticizing the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.
The NBPC issued a press release on March 30 that stated part of the reason for its endorsement of Trump:
Mr. Trump is correct when he says immigration wouldn’t be at the forefront of this presidential campaign if months ago he hadn’t made some bold and necessary statements. And when the withering media storm ensued he did not back down one iota. That tells you the measure of a man. When the so-called experts said he was too brash and outspoken, and that he would fade away, they were proven wrong. We are confident they will be proven wrong again in November when he becomes President of the United States.
The union representing the nation’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and staff, the ICE Council, endorsed Trump last September. Their endorsement statement noted:
Donald Trump reached out to us for a meeting, sat down with me to discuss his goals for enforcement, and pledged to support ICE officers, our nation’s laws and our members. In his immigration policy, he has outlined core policies needed to restore immigration security— including support for increased interior enforcement and border security, an end to Sanctuary Cities, an end to catch-and-release, mandatory detainers, and the canceling of executive amnesty and non-enforcement directives.
A notice on the United We Dream website stated that when the DREAM Act failed to get 60 votes in the Senate in 2007, a “group of DREAMers, organizers, and advocates came together to reflect on the DREAM Act campaign and talk about building a movement and organization that would not hinge on votes in Congress.”
President Obama, frustrated that the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) had repeatedly failed to pass, had already decided to bypass Congress by creating the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to allow youth who had brought into the country illegally by their parents as children immigrants to work legally in the United States.
Critics of DACA have pointed out that the program is a means to circumvent Congress and grant amnesty to those who reside here illegally.
The DACA program was created in 2012 via policy memo by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. In 2014, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson further expanded the DACA program by removing its age cap and extending the work authorization to three years. Subsequently a group of states challenged this executive action in the case of State of Texas, et al v United States, et al.
The DACA program was brought to a halt after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas responded to the plaintiff states by issuing an order of temporary injunction to block the federal government from implementing the Obama administration’s policy memorandums that expanded DACA and implemented the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.
The Obama administration appealed Hanen’s ruing in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. After the court issued a tied 8-8 decision on the appeal, Hanen’s injunction was allowed to stand.
With the election of Donald Trump, it is expected that the new president will issue an executive order of his own to reverse those issued by Obama administration officials to create DACA. It is the anticipation of this move that has groups such as United We Dream worried.