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What we’re reading: how Trump’s executive orders give more power to law enforcement

News & Commentary  |  Feb 10, 2017
Photo: AFSC

This Thursday, President Donald Trump signed three new executive orders – signaling a further commitment to the failed “law and order” policies he highlighted in his campaign. This follows his executive orders on immigration, which dramatically expanded the number of ICE and border patrol agents, as well as mandatory detention and police-ICE collusion. Organizations across the country are already mobilizing against these policies. Here’s what we’re reading to learn more.

Trump’s “law and order” executive orders, explained, by German Lopez via Vox

“On one hand, this is just standard political fare — setting up a task force to “solve” a problem is something politicians like to do. But the fact that Trump signed three executive orders to set up three different task forces is notable, showing that the president wants to make these issues a big part of his presidency — even though the statistics show that crime is still near historic lows.

So what will the executive orders do? The likeliest reading, according to the experts I talked to, is the orders are just signaling — a first step before Trump ramps up a push for “tough on crime” policies, including possibly new legislation.”

Trump breaks from Obama with crime crackdown and 'blue lives matter' protections, by Jon Swaine via The Guardian

“Trump said in an order signed on Thursday that his administration plans to “define new federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing federal crimes, in order to prevent violence” against officers, and would pursue “new mandatory minimum sentences” for those who break the new laws.”

Civil rights groups launch nationwide campaign to rein in FBI surveillance under Trump, by Carimah Townes via Think Progress

“On Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Asian Americans Advancing Justice, PICO and more than 10 other organizations launched the Stop Trump Intelligence Program, nicknamed TrumpIntelPro, to stop police from illegally surveilling and bullying vulnerable civilians — including Muslim-Americans, immigrants, and protesters. The coalition hopes to rein in other JTTFs before they collect intelligence on behalf of Trump and the FBI.”

Trump Administration Prepares to Execute “Vicious” Executive Order on Deportations, by Ryan Devereaux via The Intercept

“Trump’s orders on border security and public safety in the interior of the U.S. resurrect some of the most controversial immigration enforcement programs of recent years, seek to deputize state and local law enforcement as immigration officials across the country, and threaten major cuts to federal funding for cities that fail to fall in line with the administration’s vision.”

How the Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mobilizing Against Trump, by Brandon Ellington Patterson via Mother Jones

 “The potential for powerful grassroots alliances has only grown since Trump entered the Oval Office, BLM leaders say. ‘What we saw during the inauguration weekend is going to continue,’ said Barry of the historic marches around the country involving myriad activist groups. ‘We're all under attack. Each of us might be impacted very differently, but we now share a very similar political fate, and so it's incumbent on all of us to really be in full coordination and solidarity with other movements.’”


"What We’re Reading" is a weekly feature on AFSC’s News and Commentary blog, where we share a curated collection of recent articles on timely issues. "What We're Reading" is meant to spark discussion, debate, and knowledge sharing, and the articles we highlight do not necessarily reflect the official organizational positions of AFSC. We encourage you to tell us what you're reading on these issues in the comments below.