Inside Trump’s Psychological War on Immigrants

What if you launched a massive immigration sweep—and almost no one got swept up?

Gotcha! President Trump is a master showman, the PT Barnum, sucker-born-every-minute, carnival barker of American politics.

He’s also someone who likes to create chaos and scare people, not only to be mean but also to flex his muscles and get attention.

But Trump’s much-hyped immigration crackdown on Sunday—which was postponed for two weeks in the first place—ultimately fizzled out.

While White House officials said that there were as many as 1 million people who were eligible for deportation after defying final orders of removal from immigration judges, when the smoke cleared, it became obvious that the raids were only going to target about 2,000 people. Nationwide.

Ten cities were targeted—San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and Atlanta. In many of those cities, thousands of protesters marched in the streets, expressing outrage that the Trump administration would target the vulnerable. Yet, across the country, media outlets reported very little activity by immigration agents. In the end, despite the president’s huffing and puffing, what was billed as a cherry bomb set to wreak havoc in the middle of America’s immigrant communities wound up being nothing more than a sparkler.

Whether or not Trump was ever really serious about launching, from sea to shining sea, immigration sweeps that netted tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants is irrelevant. What matters is that, all across the country, immigrant communities took the threat seriously—and then took cover.

And in San Diego, where I live, children were kept indoors, and adults stayed home from work. Undocumented parents made contingency plans about what would happen to their families if they were deported.

According to CBS News, the Chicago Archdiocese urged priests not to let any immigration officials into churches without a warrant. Around the country, other clergy organized space in churches to make room for families in need of refuge. In Los Angeles, a dozen churches declared themselves sanctuaries.

By Ruben Navarrete Jr for DAILY BEAST
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