President Donald Trump signed two executive orders Wednesday, following through on campaign promises to “end” the nearly 300 sanctuary city communities with policies that help shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Trump vowed to “crack down” on those cities during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. Local and state leaders around the country have publicly rejected the executive orders, including Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis.
While Dodge City doesn’t qualify as a “sanctuary city”, Francis assured residents that undocumented immigrants were safe from deportation as they did not commit other crimes.
“I’ve read the executive order President Trump signed on January 25th, 2017, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. I want all the people in Dodge City to know that this order does not change how we will serve the public.
“We are still here to serve and protect everyone, regardless of their immigration status. We’ve heard of some false information being spread in our community. To clear that up, please note, we cannot legally pull any person over based on race or ethnicity, for example.
“This new order by President Trump is targeting people who have already committed crimes. If you don’t commit any criminal acts, other than just being undocumented, you have nothing to worry about from the Dodge City Police Department.
“When any officer of the Dodge City Police Department makes an arrest, that arrestee is booked into the Ford County detention facility of the Ford County Sheriff’s Office. The detention center already fully complies with any ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) holds that come in regarding any inmate in their custody. Our community does not qualify as a ‘Sanctuary City.’
“This executive order does authorize federal entities’ broader action in relation to criminal aliens. What this means for us locally is if a subject is taken into custody for a criminal act, ICE has the ability to place a hold on that subject in a broader range of criminal actions and without the need for a conviction first. Again, the good news is, if you don’t commit any criminal acts aside from just being in the U.S. illegally, then you have nothing to worry about from the local police.
“We, the local police, are not interested in pursuing ‘undocumented’ members of the community for the immigration status crime alone. If you are a victim of a crime, please don’t hesitate to call us for help. As we’ve said before, everyone deserves to be safe.”
Immigration policy is one of a handful of contentious issues Trump has signed executive orders on in his first week as POTUS.
It remains unclear just how many people will be affected by this order. The number of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States is widely contested.
Conservative watchdog groups have contended that upwards of 30 million illegal immigrants are living in the US (nearly 10 percent of the US population), US government officials have most recently estimated the number at 11.4 million, and organizations like the Pew Research Center maintain that the number is closer to 8 million. Trump has stated that the number of illegal immigrants is “30 million, it could be 34 million”.
While pundits disagree over the statistics, Trump will undoubtedly continue his fight against status quo immigration policy.
This past week, Trump has signed executive orders that started the process of building a wall across the southern border with Mexico, stripped federal grant money to sanctuary cities, hired 5,ooo more Border Patrol agents, ended “catch-and-release” policies, and established a temporary ban and “extreme vetting” of some refugees entering the US.
Many critics and media organizations have editorialized Trump’s recent actions, calling them “draconian”. Others are calling it a push back against globalist policy.