US White House Immigration Plan Has No Heart

(HRW) – President Donald Trump says he wants to treat Dreamers “with heart,” but the White House Domestic Policy Council is signaling it has very different intentions for other immigrants already forced to contend with a broken and abusive system, a leaked document shows.

According to media reports, in exchange for legislation to protect young people who came to the US as children, the plan would eliminate protections for unaccompanied children who come to the US, restrict eligibility for asylum, humanitarian parole, and weaken protections for abused or abandoned immigrant children. The plan focuses on reducing legal immigration by prioritizing certain skills over family relationships, and envisions the hiring of thousands more immigration agents and prosecutors.

The plan would make an already broken immigration system worse. The limbo in which Dreamers live is just one aspect of a system that fails to recognize many unauthorized immigrants’ deep ties to this country. Already, a man who has lived in the US for over 20 years, has a US-citizen wife, and is the primary caretaker of his severely disabled stepson  can be deported with no consideration of the impact it will have on his American family. An Afghan who was an interpreter for the US military, and who sought asylum here believing the US valued human rights, can be locked up for nearly a year in an abusive immigration detention system. These practices do not make the US stronger or safer.

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The protections the White House Domestic Policy Council wants to eliminate are some of the few ways the US recognizes the vulnerability of children and the impact of detention on often already-traumatized asylum seekers.

Imperiling the safety of millions of children, asylum seekers, parents, and other unauthorized immigrants, in exchange for increased security for Dreamers, is not a deal Congress should accept.

This report prepared by Grace Meng for Human Rights Watch.