Politics

How President Trump Isn't Just Deporting "The Bad Ones"

Husband and father of two Jose Escobar has become one of the latest victims of President Donald Trump’s recently administered changes to immigration policy when he was unexpectedly deported to El Salvador on Thursday.

The former Houston resident lost his legal status as a teenager due to a unprocessed paperwork, but had since been given immigration reprieve and a work permit since 2012. He checks in with immigration officials every year. Married to an American citizen who he has two children with, Escobar thought he was showing up to that routine appointment on Feb. 22, The Houston Chronicle reported.

However, after the Trump administration released new guidance about which undocumented immigrants were a priority to detain and deport, Escobar was subject to arrest.

Photo Escobar Family

Trump has repeatedly defended the actions of his administration and ICE agents by claiming that they target “the bad ones,” which is to say undocumented immigrants with violent criminal histories. His predecessor's immigration memorandum had already prioritized those undocumented immigrants for deportation.

However, because Trump’s order broadened the definition of criminality to encompass any kind of chargeable offense, including the misdemeanor of illegally crossing the border, undocumented immigrants without any violent criminal history such as Escobar have been detained.

Earlier this week, in Los Angeles, ICE agents were caught on camera arresting Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez on camera as he dropped his daughters off to school. Avelica-Gonzalez did not have a violent criminal record, though his record wasn't spotless—a decade ago he was convicted of DUI and had a car registration violation a decade before that.

The extent to which immigration agents have vigorously targeted individuals without violent criminal records has sent fear through many communities across the nation. 

In the wake of these highly visible confrontations, some progressive locales have passed laws that prohibit local law enforcement from handing over undocumented immigrants or their whereabouts to ICE agents, with the exception of those with violent criminality in their past. The California legislature is considering becoming the first to pass such legislation for the entire state.