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On behalf of our nearly 10,000 members, the American Anthropological Association urgently calls on the Trump Administration to immediately call off its fear-mongering plans for nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families scheduled to begin Sunday.
The planned raids are misdirected, ill-informed, disproportionate, and unlikely to succeed, flying in the face of the administration’s own immigration authorities’ enforcement advice. The so-called “collateral” detentions, capturing immigrants who happen to be on the scene regardless of whether they are directly targeted by the raids, are of questionable legality, and will serve little purpose beyond sending a clear message of hate and exclusion from a nation of immigrants that is better than that.
For those people who are caught by enforcement actions, with the stated goal of deporting families as quickly as possible, there is a genuine threat of harm to people awaiting their return to their former homelands. They had good reasons to endure extreme hazards to escape their former homes and seek refuge in the United States. Individuals who are subject to these ICE operations can refuse to open the door when an agent approaches their home. ICE agents are not legally allowed to forcibly enter a home.
Many of those apparently targeted received their deportation orders in absentia, meaning they were denied due process in the first place, and may well be unaware that they are targeted for enforcement action. This is a recipe for unnecessary violence and deep, lasting trauma.
Anthropologists study, write, and disseminate knowledge about human beings, human rights, and humanity, and recognize this is an enormous humanitarian crisis. In previous statements, AAA has called on the US government to reverse its ill-informed, heavy-handed immigration and refugee policies. It is in equal parts unwise, unjust and unconscionable, and the administration must be held accountable for actions so unbecoming of a nation of immigrants.
We will also do everything in our power to support our members, urging them to get involved through our Time to Take Action page, and by distributing Know Your Immigrant Rights information on social media and in local communities. We will not stay back and say nothing until the disaster's been done. That would be too little, too late.