Trump’s border, sanctuary city plans may violate civil liberties

President Trump today signed executive orders authorizing funding for the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, dramatically ramping up immigration detention, and threatening to defund cities and states that protect people’s rights without regard to immigration status.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today also threatened to seek a law for removal of Texas sheriffs who do not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, offered this statement:

“President Trump has given 11 million people an excellent reason never to talk to law enforcement officers, which will endanger our communities and foment fear among our friends and neighbors. Gov. Abbott wants to go one step further, defy the Texas and U.S. Constitutions and remove local officials from office should they understand how wrongheaded and self-destructive this policy will be and choose not to follow it. Our state and national lawmakers must stop this anti-immigrant grandstanding madness before it’s too late.”

Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, had this reaction to Trump’s border plan:

“President Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is driven by racial and ethnic bias that disgraces America’s proud tradition of protecting vulnerable migrants. The DHS deportation force has a track record of racial profiling and excessive force abuses, and expanding it will further erode the rights of millions of people who call our safe border communities home. Locking up asylum seekers who pose no danger or flight risk is unconstitutional and benefits nobody except private prison corporations and politicians looking to score rhetorical points. We will see the Trump administration in court if they go down that road.”

On Trump’s restrictive sanctuary cities order, Jadwat said:

“President Trump is threatening to punish localities for establishing constitutional safeguards and for protecting the public safety of their entire communities. He may hope that local officials will buckle under his threats, but they have been preparing to defend their policies and we will stand with them in court.”

The ACLU provided legal analysis of the anti-immigration proposals touted by then-candidate Trump. It concluded those proposals were illegal, unconstitutional, and could lead to mass violations of civil liberties and rights. That analysis is here: https://www.aclu.org/report/trump-memos