Since President Trump took office at the beginning of 2017, immigrants have been alarmed by the onslaught of federal measures designed to thwart the arrival of new immigrants in the U.S.—and expel those who already reside here. Such attacks have affected legal and illegal immigrants alike.
Over the last two years, immigration advocates have loudly questioned the constitutionality of such actions and fought to repeal them. However, the Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate upheld the president’s anti-immigration agenda—leaving federal courts to serve as the only form of checks and balances against such efforts.
However, following this year’s mid-term elections, the Democrats have regained the majority in the House of Representatives. And they have vowed to take a firm stance on behalf of immigrants. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has committed to organizing committee investigations into some of the administration’s most shocking—and constitutionally questionable—measures. These include:
- Zero-tolerance policy—requiring the criminal prosecution of anyone who crosses the border without the necessary documents—including asylum seekers entering the country legally
- Institution of the family separation policy at the border—and the jailing of small children
- Refusal of essential legal services to detained immigrants
- Reports of inhumane treatment and conditions in immigrant detention centers
- Deployment of military troops to confront the caravan of migrants in Mexico
- Attempted dismantling of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
- Questionable protection of immigrant victims of crimes, such as human trafficking
- Attempts to terminate birthright citizenship
It is hoped that a Democratic majority in the House will make it more difficult for the administration to make unilateral immigration policy decisions—and will instead force a more robust system of checks and balances.