Detention Watch Network Condemns Trump’s Wholesale Attack on Immigrants

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Washington, DC — In response to Trump’s executive orders on immigration Silky Shah, co-director of Detention Watch Network said:

“As if it wasn’t already clear from Cabinet nominations like Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, Trump’s executive orders on immigration demonstrate what the next four years will look like — a hate-fueled attack on immigrants and people of color. With today’s executive orders, Trump not only threatens our universal values of human dignity and justice, but actively promotes xenophobia, discrimination, repression, and fear.

In a move to swiftly increase the already record number of people behind bars, Trump has ordered an increase in immigration detention space along the Southern border and a major expansion of enforcement “priorities.” This dangerous policy shift leaves no room for an individualized assessment of a person’s pending immigration case, while arbitrarily funneling immigrants into a sprawling, unaccountable and unjust detention system that has already proven to be deadly.

His decision to direct the Department of Justice to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities is attempted extortion by the federal government. Immigrants being targeted are deeply rooted in our families and communities, no local government should ever be part of the business of deportation. He also plans to reinstate the inhumane deportation program, Secure Communities, which will funnel even more people in detention and deportation proceedings through racial profiling.

Going hand in hand with increased incarceration is an increase in enforcement both at our borders and through raids. In addition to ordering an expansion of the existing border wall, Trump ordered a further increase in the number of agents for both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This order comes on the heels of reports that CBP is already illegally refusing entry to people seeking asylum and turning away visitors based on their political and religious beliefs. Though appalling, these actions are consistent with Trump’s choice of Julie Kirchner, the former Executive Director of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), as chief of staff of CBP. The appointment of a known anti-immigrant proponent is the latest example of Trump championing a white supremacist agenda.

These are only the initial actions in Trump’s ramp up of detentions and deportations, which are already operating at a historic high. We reject Trump’s anti-immigrant and islamophobic vision for this country. Led by immigrants and people of color, we stand resolutely in the fight to make our vision of inclusivity, dignity and freedom a reality.”


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention.