If Europeans living illegally in the U.S. thought they would be exempt from President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, they are quickly learning that the law does, in fact, apply to them, too.
The number of Europeans deported this year from United States could potentially surpass last year’s total, according to figures provided to The Associated Press by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
From Oct. 2, 2016 through June 24, more than 1,300 Europeans have been removed. President Barack Obama’s administration removed 1,450 during the previous fiscal year, 2016.
“People are very, very concerned and lying low,” says Ronnie Millar, of the Boston-based Irish International Immigrant Center. “The message is that if it can happen to John, it can happen to anyone.”
Europeans make up abut 440,000 of the estimated 11 million people living illegally in the United States, according to the Migration Policy Institute, with Romanians at the top of the list.
There have been 193 Romanian deportations so far in 2017’s fiscal year, with Spain at 117; the United Kingdom at 102; and Russia at 81.
Advocates complain that Trump is taking too hard of a stance against illegal immigrants who are hardworking, taxpaying people, according to The Associated Press, whereas the Obama administration focused on deporting the most serious criminals, creating a “false sense of security,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.
However, Ali Noorani who is the executive director of the immigrant-rights group National Immigration Forum, believes that the administration is wasting resources on those who aren’t a public safety threat.