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Donald Trump’s Modern-Day Gestapo

Posted on Apr 20, 2017

By Sonali Kolhatkar

(Page 2)

Even so-called Dreamers are not immune to Trump’s cruelty. Registrants of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were among those undocumented people thought to be safest from immigration enforcement. After all, they had voluntarily enrolled in a program the government created, giving up their personal information in exchange for a small measure of security. Even Republicans have paid lip service to DACA registrants, with Trump saying at a press conference in February, “We’re gonna show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you ... To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids.”

Yet 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina became the first DACA registrant to be arrested in an ICE raid near Seattle earlier this year. ICE agents have maintained that Medina has ties to a gang, but lawyers for the young immigrant have denied it. Medina is now suing the government.

An unnamed 22-year-old DACA registrant was arrested in Los Angeles in February, and a 22-year-old Argentinian DACA registrant named Daniela Vargas was arrested in Mississippi and then released after pressure from lawyers and the public. Vargas is still fighting a deportation order that was placed on her, however.

On Tuesday, news broke that 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, another DACA registrant, was the first to actually be deported to Mexico. Bojorquez is now suing the government for violating his protected status.

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Trump and the Republicans have fanned the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment as a vote-getting tactic for years. Trump’s racist rhetoric was particularly blatant in his labeling of Mexicans as “drug dealers,” “criminals,” “rapists,” and “bad hombres.” Early in his campaign, Trump said in a 2015 CNN interview, “Illegal immigration, each year, costs us between $200 billion and $300 billion. … I don’t know if anybody gives you those numbers. Probably not.” He added, “Do you really believe they pay taxes?”

In fact, undocumented immigrants certainly pay taxes, something the new president has failed to prove to the nation that he does on a regular basis.

Estimates vary, but the latest numbers available show that undocumented immigrants paid “$13 billion in payroll taxes in 2010,” even though they could get away with not paying them. The IRS enables people who don’t have papers to file taxes even if they don’t have a Social Security number, and a good number of immigrants do so.

But this year, NPR reported, there has been a dip in the numbers of people filing with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), which is what undocumented immigrants primarily use. It is hugely ironic that fewer immigrants filed taxes this year because of Trump’s crackdown on undocumented people and the fear of outing themselves to any government agency. A tax preparer in San Francisco told NPR, “Sending in a tax return with your current address and information is very unnerving to a population that wants to comply with the law and is actually leaving significant refunds on the table by not filing tax returns.”

In a report on Saturday’s “Tax March” in Los Angeles, DACA registrant Ivan Ceja spoke with my correspondent, Tami Hamada Woronoff. He was holding a sign that read, “I am undocumented and I pay taxes, Trump show me your tax returns.” Ceja told Woronoff, “I paid my taxes because I know people do need those benefits.” He added, “If I’m held accountable, I think he should as well.”

Immigrants, who in fact commit crimes at far lower rates than natural-born citizens, are feeling terrorized while the president lives large, spends taxpayer money like water to fuel his lavish lifestyle, refuses to release his tax returns or make the White House visitor logs public. To Trump, accountability apparently is a one-way street.

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