Artwork by Eli Canter: Trump’s first few months have created a lot of controversy throughout the country.
Guadalupe García de Rayos, married and a mother of two U.S. citizens, has been living in Arizona since she was fourteen. She is an undocumented citizen and was arrested in 2008 for using a fake Social Security number to work at a water park. However, García de Rayos has been allowed to live in the United States as long as she checked in with the officials at the Phoenix offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) each year.
After President Trump’s inauguration, García de Rayos was anxious about her next meeting with officials. On February 8th, when she went for her annual check-in, she was taken into custody.
The arrest sparked protests and people gathered outside the offices to rally. The Arizona Republic reported that there were 200 protesters, including de Rayos’s two children, shouting, “No papers, no fear” and “Let her go, set her free.” Protesters blocked the van holding García de Rayos and a man even tied himself to the front wheel. This was the first arrest made under Trump’s new executive order. Trump’s new policy states that “if any noncitizen who is charged with a criminal offense of any kind, or who is suspected of committing criminal acts or being dishonest with immigration officials” will be deported. This is in contrast to the Obama administration, which emphasized the deportation of illegal immigrants who were violent or involved in gangs. According to the Washing – ton Post, “Trump’s executive order on Jan. 25 expanded priorities to include any undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of a criminal offense.” The director of Puente Arizona, a grassroots migrant justice organization, said that arresting García de Rayos would incite other undocumented immigrants, who usually checked in at the ICE offices, to go into hiding rather than turn themselves in.
When García de Rayos’s 14-year-old daughter was asked what she would say to Trump about this situation she said, “I’d ask him why he would want to take her from me. She hasn’t done anything wrong and I’m not scared of him.” Trump’s new executive order on immigration will do anything but establish safety and peace across America. Instead, it will inflict fear and tear families apart. Guadalupe García de Rayos is not a drug dealer, rapist or gang member. She is an innocent, hardworking woman living in America to provide a better life for her children. She does not pose a threat to American society and is undeserving of such a horrific punishment. Trump’s plan to build a wall and his executive order on immigration will inevitably hurt those seeking a better life in the United States and the states itself. This is just the beginning of why building a wall and Trump’s executive order are not the solutions to “protecting America.”
First of all, Mexico is one of America’s closest allies and trading partners. Building a wall will put that relationship in jeopardy. Also, experts say constructing a wall would cost at least $25 billion. According to the Huffington Post, “that’s enough to build 1,500 new elementary schools, or send more than 300,000 veterans to college, or install enough renewable energy to power more than 5 million homes.” That sum of money can be put to much better use and help improve American society. Trump’s executive order will make it very hard for innocent and hardworking people to escape their unstable and violent countries. The majority of those coming to America are not criminals and want nothing more than to feel welcome in the United States. They lose their opportunity to start a new life and are forced to stay in their dangerous country. Lastly, authorities in border cities such as Tijuana and Mexicali say they do not have adequate resources to handle the expected influx of deportees. Without protection, migrants will be at an even higher risk of being kidnapped, raped or killed.
By Lindsey Randall