President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration reforms will have far-reaching consequences not only in the United States but across the world.
Thousands of people who have called the United States home for years will soon be thrown out courtesy of tough legislation and an anti-immigrant mantra that Trump embraced the very first day he hit the campaign trail.
Opinion remains sharply divided on the rationale, with lawyers, human rights activists, tech companies and members of the Democratic Party poking holes on Trump’s radical strategy to rid the nation of immigrants, including plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
But not lost to observers has been the conduct of immigration and security officials as Trump implements his controversial campaign pledge. Of great concern, it has now emerged that undocumented female migrants are being sexually abused by some U.S. law enforcement officials.
This week, various lobby groups led by Grassroots Leadership, United We Dream and the Workers Defense Project raised a red flag, demanding that action be taken against officials who have allegedly exploited women deportees, mainly from Mexico and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Speaking to reporters in Austin, Texas, officials of the rights groups Cristina Parker, Julieta Garibey and Sam Robles said sexual assault targeting women with deportation orders was alarming. Reports allege 80 percent of victims are raped. Others are assaulted in detention camps.
Trump should now show leadership. He should ensure his administration conforms to requirements of international treaties and conventions on deportations and refugee handlings. He should also ensure those facing deportation aren’t being subjected to deplorable conditions and inhumane treatment.
Reports of ethnic profiling, raiding homes and pulling suspects over in the streets are barbaric acts that will only serve to taint Trump’s presidency even further.
Deportations have increased by 40 percent since Trump took office, with the state of Texas alone deporting an average 19 people per week. More than 41,000 immigrants have so far been rounded up since March. It’s only fair that basic human rights be respected as this process is underway.
It’s worrying that these allegations are coming up hot on the heels of Trump’s plans to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that protects 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally as children from being deported.
Whichever way one looks at it, Trump must realize he will owe the U.S. citizens and the world an explanation for his actions that could impact negatively on deportees, their families and countries.
He may not want history to judge him harshly. Moreover, he will be seeking a second term, the more reason he should desist from actions likely to put him on a collision course with lawyers and human rights groups. Migrants too have rights that must be protected and respected.