The American Civil Liberties Union is mobilizing a “rapid response team” to fight the Trump administration’s recent deportation actions. Last week officials conducted immigration raids in cities around the country, arresting 160 people in Los Angeles alone. The majority of those arrested had criminal backgrounds.
ICE LA Field Office Director David Marin described the recent raids as “nothing out of the ordinary.”
The recent concern about immigration raids and deportation is an unusual move for the civil liberties group, as former President Obama was actively deporting illegal immigrants and the ACLU did not form a “rapid response team.”
Between 2009 and 2015 the Obama administration removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, shattering records, and earning him the nickname “Deporter in Chief” among rights groups and activists.
As recently as 2016, Obama drew sharp criticism from some Democrats over ordering raids that targeted women and children, according to Reuters.
The ACLU responded about their lack of action against President Obama’s deportations by saying they were “not pleased” with him but are now focused on what they see has Trump’s expansion of those efforts.
“This administration is just getting started and we’re anticipating much worse,” Gelernt said in a phone interview, citing the language Trump uses about immigrants as his reasoning for his concern that Trump’s approach could be more severe than Obama’s. “His rhetoric is already scaring a lot of people in immigrant communities.”
Since President Trump’s election, the ACLU has received more than $80 million in donations, according to the Associated Press, and the group has doubled its membership.