Current Immigration Reform Is About Exclusion.
Our Constitution is designed to protect our rights as human beings from an inequality of power involving other people, corporations and our government. Having three branches of government is what protects us from an inbalance of power within our governing bodies. The Legislature writes the laws, the Executive Branch executes the law and has the power to issue orders, and the Judiciary determines whether or not the drafted laws/orders and their application is lawful. The three branches check and balance each other. When the executive branch undermines the judicial branch or takes power away from the judicial branch, our constitutional rights erode away.
Trump’s approach to immigration reform seeks exclusion of "less desirable populations". He and his top officials are directly engaged in the practice of minimizing the importance of the judical branch in an effort to absorb more than its fair share of power. If the power of the judicial branch fades, our protections against illegal encroachments of our constitutional rights fades along with it.
As an example, people are being deported without an immigration hearing. Imagine how dehumanizing it would be if you had moved to this country with your parents when you were a child, you had legal permission to be here, but you were suddenly tossed into an unfamiliar country without warning or due process. That’s what happened to Juan Manuel Montes, a 23 year old Mexican citizen with legal permission to be in the United States until 2018 under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Montes was deported in February without a hearing, and then was denied information lawfully requested under the Freedom of Information Act to find out what happened. He filed a lawsuit to get those answers and that lawsuit is pending.
There are over 750,000 young people who have been given legal permission to be in this country under DACA. But will our government honor their status? While Jeff Sessions has said that immigrants protected by DACA are not being targeted by ICE, he has not specified any intent to honor their legal status. President Trump has offered that he loves children, but he has not offered any clear plan for DACA recipients. This lack of clarity from our administration keeps us, the public, in the dark. That is a form of exclusivity.
Speaking more broadly about immigration, Trump’s administration has been clearly exclusive by referring to immigrants as “bad hombres”. We are all in favor of having a lawful society, but Trump places a divider between populations when he insinuates generally that immigrants are murders, rapists and gang members. Statistically speaking, by the way, Trump is wrong: illegal immigrants conform to our laws more consistently than our own citizens. So what are Trump’s motives?
Consider the President’s most recent executive order, which limits travel to the US from six Muslim-majority countries and halts refugee resettlement programs. That order clearly intends to exclude. A District Judge in Hawaii issued a stop on that order. Session’s response was to demean to the judge (sound familiar?) by expressing his astonishment that a judge “on an island in the Pacific” could do such a thing. Surely Sessions knows that Hawaii is part of the United States. He demeans the judge to make him seem less important and not “one of us.” But Sessions is wrong; the judge has an important role.
Our Constitution serves to protect all of us by providing a system of checks and balances within our three separate branches of power. In the case involving the District Judge in Hawaii, the judicial branch is protecting the rights of our people by stopping an illegal order. The order is illegal because it is exclusive, and its exclusion is based on religion. Our Constitution favors inclusion over exclusion. I would like to see our administration do the same.