Trump's Fortress America Panorama


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Trump's Fortress America

With the world focusing on Donald Trump's troubles in Washington, Panorama investigates how his controversial plans to deport illegal immigrants are being put into action.


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He promised to kick out millions of illegal immigrants.

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DONALD TRUMP: We have some bad hombres here,

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and we're going to get them out.

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Now President Trump's deportations have begun.

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TRANSLATION: They locked me up, threw me away like rubbish.

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Tonight, we ask, who is he targeting?

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They just came up to my mom and they told her that she was arrested,

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and then they put handcuffs on her.

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Sometimes, the sins of the father are visited upon the sons.

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The President wants America's police to take on

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controversial immigration powers.

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In major cities across the country, there's outrage.

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PROTESTERS: Shut down ICE! Shut down ICE!

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We are not a police state, we are not a police country.

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But President Trump's supporters want a new America.

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They want illegal immigrants out.

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Rafts in the water! Rafts in the water!

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We have people that come into this country that bring

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drugs into this country. I don't like that element,

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and I wish that we could get all of those people and deport them.

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TRUMP: Are you ready?

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CHEERING

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On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical,

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tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The western end of the US-Mexico border, and the wall.

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There are already 650 miles of fortifications,

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but the President wants more.

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President Trump wants his wall to extend

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almost 2,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean here right through to Texas.

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It would be the biggest structure of its kind built

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anywhere in hundreds of years, a symbol of strength to some

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but, to others, a symbol of hate.

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The President wants the wall to keep out hundreds of thousands who

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cross into America illegally every year.

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He also wants mass deportations of the millions already in America,

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many who've been there for decades.

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On weekends, those who've already been deported

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gather at the wall to talk to their loved ones on the other side.

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Olga, a make-up artist, was deported in April.

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She'd lived in California for 27 years.

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She left her six-year-old with family.

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She's had custody of Jalene since birth.

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TRANSLATION: She calls me and she asks me why I abandoned her.

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She asks me if I don't love her any more. And that hurts a lot.

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For decades, the authorities didn't go after her.

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They even gave her a work permit. But this year, things changed.

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They put chains on my feet, on my waist, tied like this to my hands.

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They locked me up, threw me away like rubbish.

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She said a guard insulted her. He would beat himself here.

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"You're in my country, in my country!" he screamed.

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They said that, since the new president had come in,

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everything was changing.

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What do you say to the Americans who say you broke the law,

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this is fair game? Not all people are criminals.

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They should be focusing on the people that have

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a lot of problems with the law.

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TRUMP: We have to have strong borders.

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We have some bad hombres here, and we're going to get them out.

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We're at one of the busiest land borders on Earth,

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entering California.

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In President Trump's first hundred days,

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41,000 known or suspected illegal immigrants were arrested.

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Most were criminals. But is he just targeting them?

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So I've been tracking cases of families

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split by President Trump's deportations all over

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the country for months,

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and I've just heard about what sounds like a really

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disturbing case where both parents were arrested for deportation,

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leaving the children home alone.

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These are the Duarte children.

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They're going to see their parents in an immigrant detention centre.

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We haven't gone to see them since this all happened. Almost two weeks.

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Yeah, almost two weeks.

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We're just hanging in there and they know that we've got things

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under control, that I've got things under control.

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The children have never been into a place like this before.

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They were born here, US citizens, but their parents,

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Francisco Duarte Senior and Rosenda,

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have been living in the US illegally for 21 years.

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One Tuesday morning in May,

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when the children were getting ready for school, their lives changed.

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We were just sitting at the kitchen,

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listening to the radio, just talking, eating breakfast.

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There was this big commotion, I guess.

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My little sister came screaming in my room, telling me to come out.

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They just came up to my mom and they told her that she was arrested.

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And then they put handcuffs on her.

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So I came out

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and then I see my dad's already in handcuffs behind a car.

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Yarely and Aracely, 12-year-old twins,

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and their teenage brothers were left to fend for themselves.

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I wasn't even able to say goodbye to my dad.

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There was all, like, just a flurry of all the feelings

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ever happened, like,

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why is it happening? Most of all, we were just shocked.

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And we all just sat down, we just cried.

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Their parents were detained by US Border Patrol.

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The officers knew they were leaving a teenager in charge of children.

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They just asked me, "Are you Francisco?" And I was like, "Yeah."

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"So you're 19 years old?" I was like, "Yeah."

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He was like, "OK, then you can take care of things."

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I was like, "All right." They just left you here with the whole family?

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Yeah.

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That night, they all decided to sleep in the same room.

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We just decided to move into my brother's room because

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our parents weren't there,

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we just wanted to stick together as a family.

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Mark Lane, who helps local immigrants with legal matters,

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has been rallying neighbours to help the family.

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They're scared, they're sad.

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The older son, Francisco, I've seen him break down several times

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and cry.

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He's trying really hard to be the man of the house,

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but he's a young man. He's 19, but he's a young man.

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He's going to school, he's still a kid.

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The children's parents run a small family ice cream business.

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My dad has been selling ice cream for 20 years now,

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ever since he got across the border.

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My mom helps at a food drive,

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and she's an active member of her church.

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They'll be walking around, driving around, they're like, "Hey,

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"you're the ice cream man!"

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Border Patrol initially accused the parents of involvement

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in international human trafficking then dropped the accusation.

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Neither of the parents has a criminal record.

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The Duartes aren't alone.

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We heard stories of parents being arrested all along our journey.

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I can tell you that, pre-Trump,

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I was getting two to three calls a week.

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Post-Trump, I get ten to 15 calls a day.

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We have one family that we're dealing with.

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Over the last two months,

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they've taken three separate members of the family.

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So this is happening all over? It's happening all over.

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In President Trump's first 100 days, over 10,000 so-called

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undocumented immigrants without criminal records were arrested,

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more than twice as many as the year before, parents amongst them.

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Nobody wants families split.

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And the way to ensure that

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if you're a family is to not to come to this country illegally.

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Sometimes the sins of the father are visited upon the sons

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and that's unfortunate.

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But the government didn't create those sins.

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So the sons have to pay for the sins of the father?

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Um...

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I would disagree totally with that.

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It is not good public policy to rip families apart.

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You want to keep those families intact

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so they can become strong economic units within our society.

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The crackdown on the undocumented has been going on for years.

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President Obama deported around three million.

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More than any recent president.

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It was often controversial.

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But he prioritised criminals and offered some protection to parents.

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OBAMA: Felons not families. Criminals not children.

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Gang members not a mom who is working hard

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to provide for her kids.

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In a series of executive orders,

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President Trump scrapped those priorities, then removed

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protection for parents, making millions without criminal

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records as much a priority for deportation as hardened criminals.

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We headed to Los Angeles, one of the so-called sanctuary cities

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that wants to protect the undocumented.

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About a million undocumented immigrants live here.

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Most work, many raise families.

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They contribute billions to the economy.

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And here they're angry.

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In over 100 other sanctuary cities and counties too, the president's

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deportations are seen as an assault on Hispanic America.

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Shut down ICE!

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In sanctuary cities, police limit their cooperation with

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

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I live in a community with a lot of folks from all over the world

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and a substantial number that are undocumented.

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We are not a police state. We are not a police country.

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We rely on cooperation with citizens for public safety.

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The president has struck back.

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TRUMP: Our order cracks down on sanctuary cities,

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empowers ICE officers to target

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and remove those who pose a threat to public safety.

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He's threatening to withhold millions of dollars for public

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programmes from the so-called sanctuary cities.

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And ICE is accused of targeting these cities in raids.

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Here, outside Los Angeles, is a major ICE operation centre.

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The reality is that in the cities that we do not have cooperation,

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we do have to go out in the communities significantly more

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than we have to in areas where we have cooperation.

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We have to knock on doors.

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So, do we target those communities?

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No, not specifically.

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But are you going to see more enforcement actions

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out in the streets in those communities?

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Absolutely.

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We headed east along the border to Arizona through

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the Sonoran Desert to a very different America.

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We are going to get the bad ones out,

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the criminals and the drug dealers.

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The day is over when they can stay in our country and wreak havoc.

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Many here support President Trump's deportation plans

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and you can see why.

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This is Pinal County on the front line of America's drugs war.

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All in these mountains,

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there's probably about 12 in these mountains alone right here.

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They sit there with binoculars and radios.

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Mexican cartels station lookouts on the hilltops here to

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guard their multibillion-dollar drug smuggling operation.

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Are they heavily armed?

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Yes. They usually have rifles. They keep AK-47s. We've had some...

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There's been some shoot-outs over here.

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There are few barriers along the border in these parts

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so drug mules just walk across,

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helping bring hundreds of tonnes of drugs into Arizona every year.

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So, what would that have been?

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So, these right here are straps that they use to carry the marijuana in.

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So that is basically a backpack, huh?

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That's a backpack.

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Arms. How much did you say goes in here?

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About 40 pounds. 40 pounds of marijuana. Mm-hm.

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Nearby we met Ken Donohue. He lives here in the heart of cartel land.

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International drug smugglers are on his doorstep.

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But there are few immigration patrols in his area

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so he's taken security into his own hands.

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A friend of mine made the sign.

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I stuck it up there just to let people realise

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that there is a gun here.

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Once, in the middle of the night, Ken heard two Mexican drug

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traffickers right underneath his bedroom window.

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I had to physically fight with one of them to get them off the place.

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The thing is, I took a shotgun and I shot it over their heads

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and I have not had one come back on the place since.

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I don't wish them any harm.

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But this is not the place for them to come.

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Ken has no qualms about getting tough on illegals.

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So, do you support President Trump's plans for mass deportation?

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I know some people that are illegal here and they're great people

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but they're illegal.

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So, yes, if they get picked up,

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they need to go back to where they came from.

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There aren't enough border patrol officers to guard every inch

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of these porous borderlands day and night.

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The shortage of manpower is a problem nationwide.

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So, how is President Trump going to deport the millions?

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TRUMP: We're going to have a deportation force.

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We're going to do it humanely.

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It's not a new idea.

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Back in 1954, President Eisenhower created his own deportation

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task force which expelled hundreds of thousands.

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President Trump wants his force to be bigger, better and different.

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We're rounding them up in a very humane way.

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I know it doesn't sound nice but not everything is nice.

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In America, police traditionally don't enforce immigration law,

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but President Trump wants to change that.

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He wants America's police to have the powers of immigration

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officers who can interrogate and detain suspected illegals.

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A giant nationwide deportation force.

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Police here are already doing their part.

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I can tell you right now, our county for the most part is very pro,

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you know, the stance we've taken,

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which is tough on immigration, border security.

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This is what the people of this county want. Do you know why?

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Because we've been affected by it.

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That night, the police show us

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how they are helping the president's deportation drive.

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A routine patrol suddenly turns into a manhunt.

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What's the vehicle we're chasing?

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We're in pursuit of a vehicle which is used for criminal traffic.

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They were pretty close.

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If you look to the right, you might have his lights over there.

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They see tracks. The runaway car went off the road.

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He went that way?

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Right there? Right here, look.

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So, the driver of this car literally either fell down this

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bank or he drove it down this bank.

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The driver has disappeared.

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They've got police dogs out down there trying to find him.

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They don't know where he is.

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Did you get the trunk?

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It's empty.

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BUZZING Don't point that at me.

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A search of the car reveals a knife, a Taser and a drugs pipe.

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Then the dogs find the suspects.

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There's a driver and a passenger.

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Entiendes ingles, cabron?

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The man has a fake US ID.

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It is a fake social security card.

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It doesn't come back to this Angel Guadalupe.

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You just checked it? Yes.

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He's illegal? He just told you that? Mm-hm. Yeah.

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The man is placed under arrest after police find a stash of illegal IDs.

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Millions of Americans have their identities stolen each year

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and cartels run human trafficking operations in this area,

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all part of the illegal immigrant crime that President Trump's

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supporters hope he will end.

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He has multiple identifications on him from fraudulent names,

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and fraudulent social securities.

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Everything indicates right now that

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he's in the United States illegally.

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The man is headed for jail.

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Most police in America wouldn't be able to hold him

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for immigration offences but here they can.

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What will happen to him now?

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He will have a detainer put on him, an ICE detainer,

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an immigration detainer.

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An immigration detainer means basically you contact

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the immigration people and they... Yes.

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You hand him over, effectively. Yep.

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This is the model President Trump wants to see adopted nationwide.

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But very few police departments in America have signed up so far.

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Many are worried their communities will stop trusting them.

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If police officers become ICE agents, I will tell you,

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you will see deserted streets, you will see crimes happening,

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crimes being unreported,

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you will see the underground in our society swell.

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You will see people running and living underground.

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We drove on towards Texas

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and the Rio Grande Valley, where fear is already setting in.

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Major roads in and out have long had internal immigration

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checkpoints here, rare in America.

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Texas is home to over ten million Hispanics.

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Everyone in this area seems to know someone who's undocumented.

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In some parts of this state recently there has been a dramatic

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drop in crimes reported because of a new state law that's been passed.

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We pass out these leaflets - Know Your Rights.

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For example, if ICE knocks on your door,

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you don't have to open the door.

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Gaby Zavala, a community organiser, is going house to house telling

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people their rights.

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The new state law here has made it a crime for police departments

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to refuse to work with immigration.

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Now it's widely expected that police officers all over Texas will start

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demanding immigration papers from Hispanics they stop

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in the course of their duties.

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So these are some information that we are passing out.

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Basically it's a warning for people that are travelling to Texas.

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It says, "All travellers, including US citizens,

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"if they travel to Texas, they might encounter illegal arrest,

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"racial profiling, demands to show your papers."

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People need to know that this is a racist law,

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that this is a discriminatory law.

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This new law is not yet in effect and is being challenged.

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But alarm about the anti-immigrant mood has changed life here.

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People have been going to the doctors less,

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have not really gone out grocery shopping as much as they used to.

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Maria has lived here in Brownsville ever since she crossed the border

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illegally in the '90s.

0:21:440:21:46

She's always lived openly, gone to the shops, the parks.

0:21:460:21:50

But nowadays, well before dusk, Maria and her neighbours

0:21:510:21:54

retreat inside, a self-imposed curfew.

0:21:540:21:57

TRANSLATION: At around 7pm, people are no longer on the streets.

0:22:000:22:03

There is nothing.

0:22:030:22:04

Everyone locks their doors. They're scared.

0:22:040:22:08

We close everything. We close doors, we close blinds.

0:22:080:22:12

It looks like a wasteland.

0:22:120:22:13

Maria has a 16-year-old daughter. Stephanie has cerebral palsy.

0:22:160:22:20

She also has high temperatures that the doctors here can't explain.

0:22:220:22:26

Her local doctor says it's urgent

0:22:260:22:28

she sees a specialist in a town 160 miles away.

0:22:280:22:32

We're scared that her condition is going to deteriorate.

0:22:340:22:38

All the doctors say it's important that we take her to

0:22:390:22:43

Corpus Christi to get specialist treatment.

0:22:430:22:46

But to take Stephanie to the specialist,

0:22:480:22:50

Maria would have to drive past police and cross the checkpoint.

0:22:500:22:54

She's too scared.

0:22:540:22:56

What I'm scared of is that I'll cross a checkpoint

0:22:570:23:00

and then who is going to take care of my children?

0:23:000:23:03

How do you feel about President Trump's policies

0:23:040:23:08

that the law of the land is that illegals have to go back?

0:23:080:23:13

We don't kill. We don't steal. We don't murder.

0:23:130:23:18

And we're not drug dealers.

0:23:180:23:21

We just simply want a better future for our families

0:23:210:23:24

and that's why we came to the United States.

0:23:240:23:27

Word is out. Trump's America is no place for illegals.

0:23:290:23:33

TRUMP: We will use the best technology,

0:23:340:23:37

including above- and below-ground sensors,

0:23:370:23:42

towers, aerial surveillance

0:23:420:23:45

and manpower to supplement the wall and keep out criminal cartels.

0:23:450:23:51

We went on dawn patrol with border guards,

0:23:530:23:57

flying over the Rio Grande that forms the border here.

0:23:570:24:00

Until recently, the cartels here have been brazen,

0:24:130:24:16

running drugs across the border in broad daylight.

0:24:160:24:19

But after hours in the air,

0:24:260:24:27

we hadn't seen one immigrant crossing.

0:24:270:24:30

The president's tough stance has created what

0:24:300:24:32

they call here the Trump effect.

0:24:320:24:34

President Trump is often portrayed by his detractors as ineffectual,

0:25:010:25:05

chaotic, embattled,

0:25:050:25:07

but he's been effective on reducing illegal immigration.

0:25:070:25:11

Donald Trump was elected to do something.

0:25:110:25:14

He's doing by and large what he promised to do.

0:25:140:25:18

We open our arms to people who want to come here

0:25:180:25:22

but when you reward people who come in through the back door

0:25:220:25:25

you are punishing people who come in through the front door.

0:25:250:25:29

And I don't think we ever should punish people

0:25:290:25:31

who comply with the rules.

0:25:310:25:34

Until President Trump, many politicians across

0:25:340:25:37

the political divide agreed criminals should be prioritised

0:25:370:25:41

for deportation.

0:25:410:25:43

But Democrats and Republicans disagree

0:25:430:25:45

about how to handle the rest.

0:25:450:25:47

If you want to get rid of undocumenteds, I have the answer.

0:25:470:25:51

Give them the ability to become legalised workers.

0:25:510:25:56

If all you've been doing for the last few years is working hard,

0:25:560:26:00

supporting a family, being a respected member of the community,

0:26:000:26:04

why not give you the opportunity to live legally with a green card?

0:26:040:26:09

This is where the wall would end,

0:26:120:26:14

about half an hour from where Maria lives.

0:26:140:26:17

Without a border, President Trump says you don't have a country.

0:26:180:26:21

But what kind of country is he creating?

0:26:210:26:24

Gaby is now discussing a difficult step with Maria,

0:26:370:26:40

signing an agreement for a relative to take custody of Maria's

0:26:400:26:44

children if she's deported, so they don't end up in foster care.

0:26:440:26:48

We are aware of hundreds of cases of parents making custody

0:26:480:26:52

plans for their children nationwide.

0:26:520:26:54

For years politicians in America have failed to solve

0:26:540:26:57

the problem of the undocumented millions.

0:26:570:27:00

But has President Trump's approach crossed a line?

0:27:000:27:03

Splitting up families has been happening.

0:27:040:27:07

Is enforcing the policy of this administration

0:27:070:27:11

inhumane in your view?

0:27:110:27:13

There's not much of a choice when it comes to forcing the law.

0:27:130:27:16

At times there's going to be families that are separated.

0:27:160:27:19

It's very, very difficult, especially for the children,

0:27:190:27:22

but the reality is that our officers are very professional

0:27:220:27:25

and they're going to enforce the law.

0:27:250:27:27

Back in San Diego,

0:27:290:27:30

the Duarte children are on their way home from the detention centre.

0:27:300:27:34

They had been able to see their parents for a short time

0:27:340:27:37

but only over a video link.

0:27:370:27:40

The father broke down.

0:27:400:27:41

I was in there and my little sisters asked

0:27:430:27:45

if they could sing a song and my dad said, "Of course."

0:27:450:27:47

And they started singing their songs and my dad,

0:27:470:27:50

you could just see tears going down his cheeks and me as well.

0:27:500:27:55

Since we filmed with them,

0:27:570:27:58

the Duartes' mother has been released on bail.

0:27:580:28:01

Their father is still locked up.

0:28:010:28:03

Both face deportation.

0:28:030:28:05

The children, American citizens, never thought it would come to this.

0:28:060:28:11

I think it's important to speak out about this so that this doesn't

0:28:110:28:14

become normal, like, "Oh, this happened to my uncle once.

0:28:140:28:17

"This happened to my father."

0:28:170:28:18

I don't want this to happen on a regular basis where kids or

0:28:180:28:22

teenagers or adults are just torn apart from their family.

0:28:220:28:25

But something has shifted in this country.

0:28:280:28:31

Few have ever heard of the Duartes.

0:28:320:28:34

And millions whose presence has been tolerated for years

0:28:340:28:38

are no longer welcome in this new America.

0:28:380:28:42

SHOUTING

0:29:100:29:12

Young generation, when they get mad,

0:29:120:29:15

the first thing they do is grab a gun.

0:29:150:29:17

There's a lot of questions that needs to be answered.

0:29:170:29:20

Donald Trump fought the US presidential election with a promise to send millions of illegal immigrants back to Mexico. While the world focuses on his troubles in Washington, Panorama investigates how behind the scenes Trump is putting his controversial deportation plans into action.

Reporter Hilary Andersson meets families split by immigration arrests and children of detained parents left to fend for themselves. It has been claimed that Trump's policies are dividing America. The programme hears from those who support the deportations and films with police in Arizona as they hunt down illegal immigrants at night.