Texas A&M Law Review

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During the early stages of the Trump ICE age, America seemed to be witnessing and experiencing an unparalleled era of immigration enforcement. But is it unparalleled? Did we not label Barack Obama the “deporter-inchief?” Was it not George W. Bush who used the authority of the Patriot Act to round up nonimmigrants from Muslim and Arab countries, and did his ICE not commonly engage in armed raids at factories and other worksites? Are there not strong parallels that can be drawn between Trump enforcement plans and actions and those of other eras? What about the fear and hysteria that seems to really be happening in immigrant communities? Is the fear unparalleled? Why is there so much fear? Is the fear justified? Why do things seem different, in spite of rigorous immigration enforcement that has occurred even in recent years? This Article begins with a comparison of what the Trump Administration has done in terms of immigration enforcement with the enforcement efforts of other administrations. The Author then turns to the fear and hysteria in immigrant communities that has spread throughout the country. The Author asks why that fear has occurred and whether the fear has a reasonable basis. The Author closes with a personal reflection on the parallels the Author has seen and experienced since beginning to practice immigration law as a legal services attorney in 1975 and contemplates why enforcement and the resulting fear are different today.

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