The Trump administration’s new immigration policies are causing “fear, anxiety, anger and confusion” among Michigan’s Latino communities.
The new guidelines under President Donald Trump call for the deportation of any individuals in the country illegally if they are convicted, charged or suspected of a crime, which could include traffic infractions.
Department memos released Tuesday eliminate guidelines under the Obama administration that focused enforcement on immigrants in the United States illegally who have been convicted of serious crimes or are a threat to national security. The Obama administration also focused its enforcement resources on people who had just crossed the border.
The new guidelines also called to send some immigrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.
A large crowd filled Saginaw’s La Union Civica Mexicana to discuss the Trump administration’s plans to expand deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Dalia Mendoza-Smith is the local chapter president of Latino Leaders for the Enhancement of Advocacy and Development, or LLEAD. She says the new immigration policies are worrying even documented citizens in Michigan.
“In the past, people that are citizens have been rounded up, grouped and sent back across the border to Mexico,” says Mendoza-Smith.
The Trump administration would like to use local and state law enforcement agencies to help implement the new policies.
Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel says his office has other priorities.
“I do not have to participate in those federal government investigations,” says Federspiel, “I’m not inclined to jump in with the federal government that’s not my role…. I work for the people of Saginaw County.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s office says the Michigan State Police will focus its resources on other priorities, including “cybercrime investigations, traffic safety and drug enforcement.”