During the election campaign, candidate Donald Trump pledged in his “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again” to “begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country” on his first day in office. In speeches, he further promised to eventually force all undocumented people (estimated at 11 million) to leave.
Both deportations and workplace firings face a basic obstacle—the immigrant workforce is a source of immense profit to employers. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that, of the presumed 11 million people in the country without documents, about 8 million are employed (comprising over 5% of all workers). Most earn close to the minimum wage (some far less), and are clustered in low-wage industries.
Trump further announced that on his first day in office he will “cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.” More than 300 cities in the United States have adopted policies saying that they will not arrest and prosecute people solely for being undocumented. As attorney general, Sessions can be expected to try to enforce this demand. After the election, many city and some state governments and elected officials were quick to announce that they would not be intimidated.