Illustration by Anthony Holdsworth

Back in November of 2015 (a lifetime ago it seems now) many of us scoffed at or dismissed Donald Trump’s proposal to create a massive “deportation force” that would humanely remove the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants who currently reside in the United States.  There were those who did take his words as a serious threat, but many others laughed him off completely.

Now as commander in chief, Donald Trump is undeniably a joke, but no one should be laughing. His administration has signalled that it does in fact intend to prioritize large-scale deportations. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the age of Trump is already moving aggressively in several states to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

Those being targeted, however, are hardly the violent criminals on whose backs Trump has built his political identity. Rather, ICE is going after people who have been following the rules, like DACA recipients who freely and bravely relinquished all of their personal information when applying for Obama’s Deferred Action executive order. In one high profile case, ICE deported Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos—a 36-year-old mother of two in Arizona who had been routinely checking in with the feds over the past nine years.

These raids aren’t merely attacks on undocumented immigrants, they’re attacks on undocumented people who, despite their legal status, are doing their best to following the law. They represent a betrayal of people who have been cooperating with the federal government in good faith. Many of those affected, like the children of Garcia de Rayos, are here through no fault of their own.

The president has exploited the fears of many Americans, who eagerly bought the false narrative he was selling, the one about non-white immigrants being the source of the nation’s ills.

The truth is, these detentions and deportations won’t make anyone safer. And they won’t help anyone find a job either. They’re just flashy headline grabbing campaigns designed to distract us from reality.

Just a month into his presidency, Trump is proving what kind of leader he is: the incompetent kind. Obsessed with his own self-image, he stages campaign-style political rallies while his administration is in complete disarray, leaking like a sieve and beset with infighting.

Targeting DACA recipients, who voluntarily provided the government their information, is an easy way to give the appearance of upholding a campaign promise, but it does nothing to improve the quality of life for anyone and a whole lot to harm some of the most marginalized members of society. There is nothing remotely humane about tearing families apart.