Banned: Immigration Enforcement In The Time Of Trump

Author: Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia
Publisher: New York: New York University Press, 2019. 216p.
Reviewer: Kevin Cassidy | March 2020

Was immigration enforcement always a top priority of the United States government or only since Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, Banned: Immigration Enforcement in the Time of Trump, written by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia delves into this question and many others as she interfaces interviews, immigration law, policy analysis, and case studies to provide the reader with sufficient information to explore the afore mentioned areas.

Wadhia explains why the US Congress created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of 9/11 as a cabinet-level agency and how DHS has expanded its role since 9/11. The departments that deal with immigration and enforcement are Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). All three of these agencies have the authority to enforce the various immigration laws against a non-citizen. This authority is derived from many legal sources, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), also known as the immigration statute.

Early in her book, Wadhia discusses immigration enforcement and explains it is not limited to deportation or what is formally called “removal.” Actions such as street arrests, workplace questioning, detention in a correctional facility, and prosecution can be reasons for removal proceedings.

Throughout the book, Wadhia provides statistical data and methodologies that support her writings. She discusses her methodology and explains that she interviewed twenty-one participants who have been impacted since Trump took office. These interviewees fall into three categories:

  • Individual or family member affected by immigration law and policy;
  • Attorney or advocate working with individuals or families affected by immigration law and policy;
  • Former government officials with leadership responsibilities in immigration law and policy during previous administrations.

The book contains seven chapters, which are well written and contain human impact stories that are current and maybe familiar to readers.

In chapter 4, “Deporting Dreamers,” Wadhia discusses the policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012. She discusses the origins and demise of DACA. Here she thoroughly explains prosecutorial discretion and qualifying sanctions in an effective and comprehensive manner. She references the year 1981, when during the Reagan administration, a regulation was promulgated by the executive branch enabling deferred-action grantees to apply for work authorization upon a showing of economic necessity.

The author concludes by stating there is ‘A Way Forward’. She offers recommendations and insight on how the country can move forward, restore discretion and apply the rule of law. Shoba Wadhia provides a great deal of food for thought for readers.

Kevin Cassidy-Professor in the Security, Fire & Emergency Management Department at John Jay College. He also lectures at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He is a member of ASIS.

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