Trump's crew bags Public Enemy No. 1 | Editorial

It's unclear whether he was motivated by frontier justice or cruelty for its own sake, but as promised, Donald Trump's regime ripped a 36-year-old woman from the arms of her family and deported her to Mexico.

She wasn't one of those bad hombres, exactly: Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is a wife and mother who came to this country joyous with hope at age 14, made a mistake at age 28, and has been fearing the worst since November.

Then on Wednesday, she went to mass and dutifully reported to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix for her regular six-month check-in. She's been doing this for eight years, since she was caught using a fake Social Security card to get a job as a janitor at a water park. That is a Class 6 Felony - the lowest form.

There had been a Justice Department removal order since 2013, but she was repeatedly left alone as President Obama's Department of Homeland Security prioritized threats to security and public safety in its enforcement.

She and her husband have raised a daughter and a son, both young American teens, in Mesa.

Then Trump's ICE decided to plant its battle flag squarely in the middle of Garcia de Rayos's heart, and sent her back to Mexico - the new president's first strike against the bad hombres he sees on Twitter.

The state of Arizona, which learned its immigration lessons from the Papers Please Law debacle, has been roiling in despair and anger ever since.

This arrest - and dozens of others that followed in six other states - should make everyone ponder how their own community will handle such a circumstance, particularly in New Jersey.

Very few orders that bear Trump's signature are prudent policy, but deportation is overwhelmingly rejected: A Gallup poll in July found 84 percent of Americans - including 76 percent of Republicans - favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Four years ago, more than two-thirds of the Senate voted to do just that.

Yet now we brace for our Guadalupe moment. It's the kind of thing that occupies every waking moment for Johanna Calle, program coordinator for New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

"You'd see a mass mobilization, probably larger than we saw in Arizona," she said. "And it could get dangerous, because when you deport someone who is not a threat to public safety, people feel threatened. You create fear and paranoia in the community, you pit neighbors against each other, and you cause problems for local governments.

Mass convulsion is more like it.

New Jersey has the third largest foreign-born population and the fifth-largest undocumented population - an estimated 452,000 to 500,000. That's at least 100,000 more than Arizona.

There are no official figures on how many have criminal records, but nationally, only 7.4 percent of the 11 million undocumented pool has a criminal conviction, with 2.7 percent carrying a felony conviction.

Do we want the non-felons to cower in the shadows? How would all the minor offenders respond to being deportation targets?

Do we really want to break up families? Nearly 8 percent of New Jersey's school-aged kids have at least one undocumented parent.

What about economic impact? Undocumented immigrants account for 8 percent of our workforce, according to a 2014 Pew study. New Jersey Policy Perspective found that they pay $590 million in taxes annually - the fifth most in the nation.

Of course ICE should target criminals - violent felons and security threats - and as soon as they complete their prison terms, walk them to the border. That's been plan since 2013.

But now, President Trump has decided to villainize a frightened mom with two kids and a relatively minor offense from a decade ago, making her the face of his deportation crusade.

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