Download the report »

Just months into this new presidency, the Trump administration dramatically increased the arrests and deportations of immigrants. Estimates show a 38% increase in immigration arrests across the country between January and April of 2017.

The driving force behind this nationwide increase is a series of drastic policy changes to immigration enforcement enacted by the Trump administration and fueled by its nativist ideology.

Few places lay bare the reality of this tectonic shift more than Georgia. While arrests were up 38% nationally, Georgia saw its arrest rate increase by a staggering 75% in the first 90 days of the Trump presidency. This is in addition to the already high enforcement climate in Georgia during the Obama administration, where raids targeting Central American women and youth sparked national attention last year.

This report explores the consequences of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by profiling the people behind the statistics, in immigration jails far away from loved ones. The women fighting for themselves and their family integrity are the real fighters, “the Luchadoras of Georgia.”

The surge has had a devastating impact in Georgia. During the same time, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights experienced a sharp rise in hotline calls on behalf of women arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The stories are remarkably similar. All were immigrant women who are long-time residents of Georgia with deep ties to U.S. family and community. They had little to no past interaction with the immigration or criminal justice systems. Many were single mothers with young children. All were detained after local police stopped their car and arrested them for minor traffic violations. And all the mothers were transferred to ICE custody by local law enforcement and desperately fighting their deportations to remain with family.

This report explores the consequences of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by profiling the people behind the statistics, in immigration jails far away from loved ones. The women fighting for themselves and their family integrity are the real fighters, “the Luchadoras of Georgia.”

Their stories not only show the long-term impact of Trump’s deportation policy on Georgia’s communities but underscore a nationwide paradigm shift in immigration enforcement under the Trump administration. This includes:

  1. INCREASED DEPORTATION OUTCOMES: Even those mothers with available relief face likely deportation because of the long-festering problems in Georgia’s immigration system—such as high bond amounts, hostile immigration courts, no right to counsel, and low-income backgrounds.

  2. DISINTEGRATING DISCRETION: ICE’s system of prosecutorial discretion is fast disintegrating. The detention of these women shows that everyone and anyone is vulnerable to arrest. ICE’s willingness to deny prosecutorial discretion for individuals with even the most sympathetic equities, such as women who risk losing their children to state child protective services upon their detention, is deeply troubling.

  3. POLICE COLLABORATION: Programs which rely on local police collaboration, such as the 287(g) program and Secure Communities, are major funnels into Trump’s deportation machine and magnify its reach. In the stories featured herein, most arrests occurred in localities that had signed 287(g) agreements with ICE. And all of the women were arrested in traffic stops by local police. These programs, pillars of Trump’s immigration enforcement plans, are expected to exponentially expand in Georgia and nationwide.

Trump’s deportation force has ushered in a new reality of fear and panic across the country.

But against this fear also grows a new movement against Trump’s deportation force. Across the country, grassroots community groups such as GLAHR are calling on local governments to resist Trump’s agenda and expand sanctuary for Black and Brown communities against the onslaught of attacks by the Trump administration.

Immigrant women and their children are leading the fight against Trump’s enforcement regime and exposing the cruelty in his anti-immigrant agenda. For these women and families, daily routines such as driving to work, going to the grocery store, or picking up a child from school are now daily acts of resistance. It is time for localities to step up to do the same, and start protecting their residents rather than delivering them to ICE for deportation.

This report seeks to share the stories of these Luchadoras and the savage impact of this administration’s policies in Georgia.

Download the report »