Trump's ICE is jailing innocent American citizens


The Trump administration is so obsessed with hurting immigrants that American citizens are being wrongly detained.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has been jailing American citizens, potentially in the hundreds, as part of the Trump administration's relentless quest against immigrants.

"ICE appears to be asking Miami-Dade County to jail a number of U.S. citizens every month, even though citizens can’t be deported or held by ICE," said a new ACLU report, which focuses on Americans who have been detained in the Miami, Florida region.

ICE has the power to issue "detainer" requests to local jails that ask the jails to hold inmates suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

Since Trump has taken office, between February 2017 and February of 2019, 420 people identified as U.S. citizens in Miami-Dade County jail records were confined thanks to ICE detainers. In at least 83 of those cases, the requests were rescinded — which suggests the agency discovered that it wrongly identified U.S. citizens as undocumented.

The ACLU notes that since ICE often fails to actively cancel detainers for U.S. citizens, the total number of citizens detained is likely more than 83.

"If Miami’s experience is representative, ICE may now be targeting hundreds of U.S. citizens each year in states like Florida," the ACLU report said.

Citizens have also been wrongly targeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which was recently caught detaining an American citizen — specifically, a 9-year-old California girl, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina, who was separated from her mother and kept in CBP custody.

Medina lives in Tijuana, Mexico but attends elementary school in San Diego. She is an American citizen with a U.S. passport. But when she crossed to the border to go to school, CBP officials allegedly said she did not look like the picture in her passport. They accused her and her 14-year-old brother of lying to them, and said they could not see their families.

"I was scared. I was sad because I didn't have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself," Medina told the local NBC affiliate.

They were released only after the Mexican consulate was notified and intervened.

Trump is hostile to both legal and illegal immigrants, and has targeted Latinos as part of an all-encompassing anti-immigrant push. Agencies like ICE and CBP are executing an aggressive strategy dictated from above, and expanding the use of already-controversial policies.

The policies are unnecessarily cruel to everyone — but now the rights of native-born American citizens, including children, are also being violated thanks to Trump.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.