There’s a lot to dislike about President Donald Trump’s immigration policies—the wall plan, the deportations and the staggering cost, to name a few. But as arrests rise, one aspect of immigration enforcement that is often overlooked is the the use of overreaching surveillance and tracking.
Under the Trump administration, the feds have used controversial tools to sniff out immigrants. Stingray cell site simulators are particularly concerning. The Stingray is the most popular variety of IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catchers created by Harris Corporation, a defense contractor, and it’s intended for use in overseas military investigations.
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Texas’s Senate Bill 4 is making headlines this week, as it was just passed by both House and Senate and is heading to Gov. Abbott’s desk this week. The bill, notorious for being the “toughest sanctuary city bill in the country,” has been met with fierce opposition by law enforcement and private citizens alike. It’s so disliked that a reported 24 people were arrested at the Capitol on Monday, as they disrupted the peace and blocked entrances while singing and chanting in protest.
SB 4 essentially forces police officers and other officials to comply with any and all federal orders to detain illegal immigrants. If they refuse to comply, and treat a given jurisdiction as a sanctuary city or area, they can now face jail time and fines, with punishments escalating in severity if they repeat offenses. As it currently stands, law enforcement officers have some degree of discretion over what happens to those they detain. Under this law, which will take effect in September, the police will have terrifyingly-wide discretion to ask for documentation of legal status, even during routine traffic stops.
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As President Trump’s talking point of choice, immigration policy took center stage for much of the campaign. Now, as the new presidential administration attempts to put these promises into action, many are watching how President Trump will handle “Dreamers” — the colloquial term for undocumented immigrants protected under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. As its title suggests, DACA provides temporary relief from deportation for children who were brought to the United States as children by their parents.
If President Trump’s objectives are what he claims, he should be interested in protecting immigration programs that weed out the criminally convicted yet allow those with no record to remain. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) falls into that category and adds requirements of education or military service, meaning those who receive protection are highly contributing members of society with plentiful aspirations.
DACA does not provide blanket amnesty. The program’s stipulations are strict, requiring Dreamers to not have had any felony (or major misdemeanor) convictions and either be currently enrolled in school, have attained a high school degree, or be serving in the military. For those who have not attained a high school degree, a GED can also be sufficient for DACA qualification. Protection expires and must be renewed every two years and only those under the age of 31 are eligible, provided they initially entered the country while under the age of 16. Dreamers, by definition, are contributing members of society who entered the U.S. by no illegal action of their own and who are serving their communities in myriad ways.
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