Go for a dip in the outdoor pool, stroll the landscaped gardens, or grab a bite in the lively restaurant, which is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal. The chandeliers, sconces, door handles, decanters, and carafes are more exquisite than those typically found at other five-star hotels. No surprise, really, given that this working Bordeaux wine estate is owned by the year-old French luxury glass and crystal maker Maison Lalique. Four years of restorations went into the 18th-century compound, whose glamorous interiors glass-inlaid oak desks, glittering chandeliers, and Deco-inspired furnishings bring a touch of urbane luxury to the pastoral region.
Le Barn , an easy half-hour by train from Paris in the forest of Rambouillet, forgoes the airs of Lord and Lady So-and-So and invites you play in the stables. Equestrianism is first among them, as Le Barn lodges a neighboring horse school. An on-site restaurant nails comfort classics made with high-quality ingredients: potato and cottage cheese fritters, poule au pot, grilled squid and chorizo, a gorgeous steak frites. Tear yourself away for Mediterranean-inspired small plates and a glass of Syrah at the bustling ground-floor restaurant , where an open kitchen and communal seating encourage guests to practice their French with the mostly local clientele.
As a Starck production, Brach is full of unexpected surprises, from the custom scents in each of the public spaces to the foot subterranean swimming pool, fitted with over-water trapeze bars and gymnastic rings for aqua aerobics and amateur acrobat sessions.
The result is the epitome of understated luxury, with original stained-glass windows and Art Deco chandeliers tempered by sleek mirrored surfaces and custom-built furniture in dark blues and caramel. A new interior courtyard suffuses the common areas with light, while the all-marble subterranean spa — home to a hammam, a sauna, and a foot indoor pool — is an oasis of calm in the busy St. Hotel St. George is a breath of fresh air in a city dominated by clean-lined Scandinavian-style architecture. Adjara Group, the hospitality team behind the hugely successful Rooms hotel and Fabrika hostel, are single handedly making Tblisi, Georgia, one of the coolest cities on the globe.
This past spring they opened the Stamba , their most glamorous property to date. Located in a former printing house, at its industrial Brutalist center is an ambitious weeping fig tree that grows up through two of its five floors. Guests can view its branches as they swim in the glass-bottomed rooftop pool. Vintage tiles, green-leather banquettes, and potted plants give the restaurant the feel of a lush courtyard in Cuba, and its open kitchen sends out addictive comfort food, both local order a khachapuri and international.
The Art Deco-meets-industrial glamour of the public spaces continues in the spacious guest rooms, each with a unique design but many with deep brass soaking tubs, Soviet-era pendant chandeliers, oversized windows, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. At this whitewashed retreat, perched above Agio Ioannis beach, each of the 32 rooms feature private plunge pools and unimpeded sea views.
If you venture out of your room, you can relax at one of the two infinity pools or sundecks. Pro tip: Opt for the pool at the top of the hotel which was blissfully empty our entire stay but still staffed for any cocktails and snack requests. The third Santorini property from husband-and-wife hoteliers Antonis Eliopoulos and Kalia Konstantinidou, this suite retreat had a former life as a three-story Cycladic mansion — the domain of an eccentric Greek socialite with a passion for horses.
Elements of the original estate can still be found throughout; the ground-floor stables have been converted into guest rooms, each with its own private patio and plunge pool or hot tub, and the interiors have been modernized with bespoke furniture, mosaic floors of locally made tile, handcrafted textiles, and Aegean accents. The sleek, clean-lined building rises above moss-covered lava fields and surreal milky blue water.
By the check-in desk, a window perfectly frames dramatic clouds that rise from the ground, while outside, guests wade in a private section of the geothermal lagoon. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a neutral color scheme in the 62 suites emphasize the views outside, while an elaborate tasting menu at the fine dining restaurant Moss showcases Icelandic cuisine. But the real reason to go is for the 4, square-foot spa, where guests nourish mind and body with a series of scrubs made with exfoliating silica, collagen-rich algae, and minerals.
It might be the only place the world where you can get a massage while floating in geothermal waters.
Architect Fabrizia Scassellati renovated with care, sourcing fabrics and furnishings from local artisans, and preserving original details that lend the rooms a sense of place. Modern additions — a pint-sized elevator, automated check-in system, colorful tiled baths — are balanced by original wood-beam ceilings, terracotta floors and a central staircase of pietra serena , a Tuscan sandstone typical of Renaissance-era Florentine palazzi.
Rooms are filled with books and antique furniture, fires crackle in the 16th-century fireplaces, the long-abandoned garden blooms with hydrangea, and every nook has a story to tell. All you have to do is listen. Built in by Gabriele Bozzi Corso and passed between aristocratic families over the centuries, the hotel is the latest from brother-and-sister hoteliers Antonia and Enzo Fiermonte. The marble and ironwork staircases transport guests to another time — and to the stylish bar, where they can grab a cocktail and enjoy aperitivo hour in the courtyard.
Their grandmother whose brother was boxer-turned-Hollywood star Enzo Fiermonte, a. Lake Como has no shortage of world-class hotels — but strangely, until recently, none were located in Como itself, an ancient walled city built by Julius Caesar. The four-story, pink stucco property, which formerly housed a bank and offices for architects and dentists imagine climbing a spiral staircase made of marble for a teeth cleaning!
When it opened in , the hotel quickly gained a reputation as an oasis for artists and creative types — and Raffles honors this tradition with nearly works from Polish artists, making the new Europejski a destination in itself. The wine is just as fastidiously produced: the vineyards are tilled by horses, and port is made only when conditions are ideal.
When art dealer Iwan and Manuela Wirth took over the Fife Arms about four years ago, the Scottish hotel had a storied past — but its future was looking a little grim. Built in the village of Braemar in the s to capitalize on the newfound popularity of the Highlands as a tourist destination thanks to Queen Victoria, an influencer if ever there was one , this formerly grand property had not aged well think: awkwardly carved-up public spaces and a leaky roof.
However, in the hands of the Wirths, the Fife Arms has become a place you may never want to leave. In lieu of a concierge, a gamekeeper and a gillie, or hunting attendant, are at your service. At Tahini , the on-site restaurant specializing in Japanese haute cuisine, the artfully prepared sushi is best enjoyed in the palm-strewn interior courtyard. The views over old town from the rooftop splash pool, the cozy, cave-like spa, and the in-house cinema — where guests choose the film — make this the type of place you want to spend time in, packed itineraries aside.
The art is one-of-a-kind, too, with works from fledgling locals and international superstars, all curated by the cofounder of Stockholm Fashion Week. For a nightcap, try Papillon, an intimate, mahogany-paneled bar off the lobby serving old-school vibes and stellar cocktails. For those who find the ski resorts of Courchevel and St. Moritz too blingy, there is Verbier. For all the cosmopolitan coolness, you never forget where you are. The hotel is ski-in, ski-out, with a warm cordial on tap in the boot room. Most importantly, the legendary Farm Club, also acquired by Experimental and accessible through a door next to hotel reception, remains basically untouched.
We warned you. Built on the site of a 19th-century French hospital, the Jaffa now offers rehabilitation of a more luxurious variety. The rooms and suites, divided between the original building and a recently built addition, are united by clean design, with furniture conceived by Pawson. In the new building, windows look out onto the glittering Mediterranean. Embrace your inner Bond villain at the Sheldon Chalet, a helicopter-accessible five room feat of engineering situated in a most unlikely location: atop a granite ridge jutting from a sprawling glacier on the flank of Denali. A labor of multigenerational love and sheer chutzpah by the Sheldon family, the lodge combines cozy luxury and exceptional service with sublime natural scenery on a grand scale.
Word to the wise: the Bond villain lifestyle comes at a steep price, but the experience is truly rarefied. Walking into this Robert McKinley—designed property is like stepping into the home of an eccentric artist. The room inn on the Pacific Coast Highway is set inside a California bungalow that had a previous life as a motor lodge. But the real action can be found at all-day restaurant Saline, where Leo Bongarra, formerly of L.
The result is an Old Hollywood spin on high Italian style, with towering columns and blue and gold ceilings paired with dark woods and jewel-toned velvet furnishings. The Hotel Figueroa has an inspiring feminist origin story. When it was launched in , it was intended for an exclusive clientele of traveling women.
Its first manager, Maude Bouldin, liked to smoke stogies and ride a motorbike. Work by women artists are featured throughout the hotel, and a curated selection of books by L. The Harbor House Inn , an old lumber mill lodge in the tiny coastal town of Elk, was a fading beauty until , when homewares magnates Edmund Jin and Eva Lu unveiled an eight-year remodel.
Each suite has a private fireplace — as does the stately, wood-paneled library — as well as clawfoot tubs for soaking. Even better than the rooms, though, are the grounds: the property overlooks a private cove dotted with arched sea rocks and frequently visited by whales, which you can view from the back deck during migration season.
For a closer look, take the stairs down the cliffs to the shell-strewn beach by following the path through the lush, hummingbird-filled gardens. If you must do something other than relax, the Inn can help you with fishing charters, kayak guides, trail rides, hiking maps, and a picnic basket complete with local wines. Built in by a wealthy local merchant, this French-style stone chateau once stood as the grandest home in this quaint Napa Valley town. Over time, the property fell into disrepair, but following three years of sensitive restorations, it has been reborn as a cozy adults-only inn.
Contemporary living spaces are elevated by Le Corbusier furnishings, and five intimate rooms feature Italian chandeliers and Carrara marble bathrooms. On sunny days, guests can enjoy the farm-to-fork breakfast try the deconstructed oatmeal with dried wild blueberries, cherry marmalade, and honey almond butter by the outdoor heated lap pool. A decade in the making, Bungalows Key Largo opened last December as the first adults-only, all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys.
Despite its proximity to South Beach just 60 miles away , this hotel feels a world apart — a sense of separation fostered, no doubt, by the rummy Coco Tiki Tai punch offered on arrival. Rum Runner. Order a margarita, and consider your options carefully during the nightly minute sunset cruise.
The gracious lobby bar honors bourbon.
Savannah is best known for its genteel traditionalism — brochure photos show the year-old, moss-curtained oak trees, the picturesque squares, the Forsyth Park fountain lit up by the afternoon sun. Original artwork is everywhere, starting in the lobby, where guests are greeted by a filamentous glass birdcage suspended against a backdrop of inky roses. No surface is without an artful vignette: stacks of old books, a vintage globe, a worn gold bust.
The property has a restaurant and two bars, and its flagship bar, Wayward, has dive appeal self-serve popcorn, Big Buck Hunter, a vintage motorbike suspended from the ceiling and a high-low menu where Miller High Life coexists with amaro cocktails. With the arrival of the Perry Lane, Savannah finally has a hotel that reflects its old-fashioned yet irreverent spirit. Now they can spend more than a few hours here thanks to the room Sophy Hyde Park , the first high-end boutique retreat to hit the South Side. Upstairs, fine art by abstract impressionist Joey Korom hangs everywhere and most rooms come with turntables and old-school vinyl so you can get your groove on before supper.
Open only since last fall, The Sophy has quickly become the social hub of Hyde Park. When his library is complete, prodigal son Barack Obama may have a hard time securing a prized Dorchester Suite, which was, admittedly, designed with the former president in mind. Many original details, including cypress-wood moldings, stained-glass windows, wainscoted corridors, and marble fireplaces, have been carefully preserved. Order their take on the Jack Rose: they make the cocktail with applejack, pomegranate syrup, and lemon.
Crew menswear director, and his partner Scott Cole, a local restaurateur and artist. Unlike its predecessors, the fourth outpost from the brand has no shared quarters, with accommodations ranging from four-person bunk rooms to modest suites each decorated with hand-painted murals and work for purchase by Bard College art students.
In keeping with its indie aesthetic, the clientele is mostly twenty-somethings and young families eager to go out and explore the real New York. Luckily, real New Yorkers are not hard to find. Mine were from Creatives are tapping away at laptops or taking meetings in oversized lounge chairs.
Other famed Hoxton policies are in place here, too: free wi-fi, street pricing for the mini bar, and a complimentary breakfast bag hung on your door each morning. On the ground floor is La Neta, a superb vegetable-forward Mexican restaurant helmed by chef Johnny Leach, who turns out unusual dishes like acorn squash with mole, roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate, sunflower seeds, and aged cotija, and kale enchiladas. Ascend to the rooftop for Mexican street food at Tope, a lively taqueria with agave-infused cocktails, a rooftop deck, and — for those cold, rainy evenings — a communal fireplace.
In the basement is a sultry Chinese speakeasy that features Soju-and-Baiju-based cocktails mixed with teas and Asian ingredients pickled ginger, yuzu, wasabi, etc. Just a few blocks from the neon lights of Lower Broadway, a stretch of downtown Nashville has become boutique hotel central — and the Noelle is the most glamorous of the lot.
Set in a building that was originally constructed as the Noel Hotel, the property pays homage to the history of the space — for evidence of that, look only to the Deco details and old-school grandeur of the restored former lobby — while injecting it with a contemporary, creative sensibility. The capital of Texas is proud of its quirk, so it was a good move on behalf of hospitality firm the Mighty Union co-founded by Jack Barron, who is also behind Ace Hotels to incorporate the s Carpenters Hall, a low-slung brick build where woodworkers met and exchanged ideas, into the Carpenter , its new room hotel in the heart of South Austin.
Much of the building has been preserved — its wood-paneled floors, teller window reception, and cork boards — giving the property a modest first impression. Guest rooms, located in a new four-story building, are also minimalist but intentional thanks Suite Sleep beds, repurposed vintage lamps, and private balconies overlooking pecan groves and a swimming pool. If you shy away from the idea of canteens and sleeping bags, never fear: Collective embraces a concept of camping, elevated.
Luggage is delivered to your front door flap, a Cakebread Cab makes the wine list, and accommodations have everything from French press coffee and cozy king beds to hot rain showers and wood-burning stoves and around-the-clock stoking assistance, should you require it. Days can start with sunrise hikes to lookout points keep your eyes peeled for hawks and white-tailed deer or leisurely breakfasts of buttermilk pancakes, thick-cut bacon, and micheladas in a dining lodge.
Guests can also sign up for trout fly-fishing in the nearby Guadalupe River and in-tent massages. Steps from Pike Place Market, the Palihotel Seattle aims to put itself at the heart of the city — both literally and figuratively. The L. Old pipes double as clothing racks, and retired fireplaces now house Smeg fridges stocked with both Miller High Life and local sparkling wine.
Homey, Instagram-ready rooms have mini bars with tarot decks on the menu and the UN Declaration of Human Rights where a Bible might be. The Sydell Group, known for the NoMad and Freehand hotels, has built its reputation on expertly distilling the essence of a neighborhood. Like the bohemian enclave of Adams Morgan, the room Line D. Situated in a former church with pews repurposed as lobby seating, the hotel features original art and micro libraries, compiled by local shop Idle Time Books, in every room.
In keeping with its community-focused vision, the Line is also home to an Internet talk radio station and the nonprofit incubator Adams Morgan Community Center. But its refined interiors are what make the exclusive, eight-suite property stand out. Blond oak paneling and low-slung Scandinavian furniture lend a midcentury European flair, while custom-made wooden headboards and textiles with Navajo motifs draw inspiration from the culture of the American West.
Because ice prohibited him from working while he awaited authorization papers, Ismael had improved his English by watching copious television. This is not freedom. It was a small but jolting illustration of the ubiquity of the relatively new agency. Please help me. When a functionary in a flannel shirt opened the door and summoned Ismael, his lawyer rose to accompany him. But the officer waved a forefinger in her direction. A look of confusion compressed her face. Two minutes later, an officer with a shaved head, a black Under Armour hoodie, and a gun on his belt leaned his body through the door to stare intently at Ismael.
It seemed of a piece with the fraught atmosphere in the waiting room. Earlier, there had been an announcement that a car was parked illegally outside and needed to be moved. When immigration lawyers in Columbus deal with ice , they are tentative, fretful that anything that might reek of complaint could provoke ice into seeking retribution against their clients.
As she gently explained herself, Ismael disappeared behind the door for his appointment and another manager emerged. But the manager, a Latino man with an untucked shirt and glasses, earnestly attempted to explain himself. He said that he wanted to help, and he mentioned the possibility of Ismael getting a work permit soon. It had ultimately amounted to little more than a rote brush with the system.
Still, it left the lingering sense that a terrible outcome had merely been postponed—which was perhaps the whole point. No one, as a child, dreams about growing up to deport undocumented immigrants. Some 6, officers work in the Enforcement and Removal Operations ERO wing of ice , but this is not always a first-choice career option. The job is a solid option for high-school graduates, who are not eligible to apply to federal agencies that require a college education. It makes for an accessible entry point into federal law enforcement, a trajectory that comes with job security and decent pay, and perhaps the hope of someday storming buildings or standing in the backdrop of press conferences, beside tables brimming with seized contraband.
Such reveries are easy enough to entertain, until the first day on the job. In , the organization ranked th on a list of federal agencies in a survey of employee satisfaction. Even as Trump smothered the organization with praise and endowed it with broader responsibilities, ice still placed th last year.
The culture of ice is defined by a bureaucratic caste system—the sort of hierarchical distinctions that seem arcane and petty from the outside, but are essential to those on the inside. When ice was created, 15 years ago, two distinct and disparate workforces merged into one.
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The Customs part of the name refers to investigators imported from the Treasury Department. This was a shotgun marriage, filled with bickering and enmity from the start. The customs investigators had adored their old institutional home and the built-in respect it accorded them. They were given little warning before being moved to a new headquarters, with new supervisors, a nebulous mission, and colleagues they considered their professional inferiors. After several false starts, the customs investigators were eventually restyled into a unit called Homeland Security Investigations.
But for all their efforts, HSI agents still found themselves dogged by their ties to ERO and the emotionally charged issue of immigration. They were shunned by police in big cities that refused to cooperate with ice , not allowing for the fact that HSI functioned as its own distinct entity. Indeed, this summer 19 HSI agents signed a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen , asking her to officially separate their division from ice.
There is arguably a certain institutional hauteur to HSI. Meanwhile, ERO officers carry an classification. This position typically comes with a less favorable pay scale and limited powers. For instance, these officers are not allowed to execute search warrants. It often consists of paper-pushing and processing immigrants through the various stations of deportation. In many instances, when ERO officers are assigned to detain criminals who are at large, they brush up against bureaucratic limitations.
Even if the person is home, he has the right to refrain from letting officers inside. If that happens, officers have no recourse other than to sit outside and wait. Immigration courts currently have a backlog of , cases, which means that someone might wait several years before ever seeing a judge. A sense of futility, therefore, has become a prevailing ethos for much of the ice rank and file. Even as some ice officers suffer from a sense of their own impotence, the outside world often depicts them as heartless jackboots.
Thomas Homan has described how, as acting director of the agency, he would wake up every morning and read the latest complaints and negative coverage from the American Civil Liberties Union and mainstream media. Most ice agents work in cities. Many of them are themselves Latino or have married an immigrant. They are not immune. When I asked how ice responds to complaints and criticism, I was repeatedly told that officers can have genuine qualms about their work.
Like any large organization, ice has its share of bad apples. But officials from the Obama administration vociferously countered any notion that ice is teeming with racists. To navigate this moral thicket, ice officers tell themselves comforting stories. Statistically speaking, an immigrant who has lived in the United States for decades, has an immaculate criminal record, and comes from Central America like many ice targets poses so negligible a national-security threat that it is virtually nonexistent.
No immigrant from the region has ever committed a terrorist attack on U. During the first term of his presidency, Obama pursued an aggressive policy of immigration enforcement. As late as , he expelled , undocumented immigrants, a far higher number than any other recent administration did. This extreme crackdown was intended as a down payment on comprehensive immigration reform. Alas, that down payment would never be recouped. Immigration reform collapsed thanks to the guerrilla tactics of the GOP hard-liners in the House.
And so, in the face of congressional inaction, Obama set about steering ice toward a more compassionate strategy. He wanted to give the agency a set of explicit and rigid priorities for whom it would detain and deport. Previously, almost any undocumented immigrant had been fair game. By the middle of his second term, the administration had figured out how to translate its priorities into bureaucratic reality.
It supplied ice with clear procedures—with checklists and paperwork—to ensure that the organization hewed closely to the new goals. At various moments during these years, a broad swath of ice officers behaved as a rogue unit within the federal government.
When Obama issued his plans for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals daca that same year, the head of the union, Chris Crane, sued top administration officials to block the move. When the ice union assembled to endorse a presidential candidate, Trump received 95 percent of the vote. W e know all the common knocks against government: how it overcomplicates tasks, how it resists change, how it has a remarkable capacity for inventing inefficiencies. But ice has quickly created a system of incredible scale, an industrialized process for removing human beings from the United States. Take the example of ice Air.
Twelve years ago, ice set about creating an internal mechanism for transporting deportees back to their native lands by establishing its own airline. In , ice Air flew trips to Guatemala, its top destination. Like most airlines, ice Air has a baggage limit: no more than 40 pounds. Unlike most airlines, ice Air forbids passengers from wearing belts and shoelaces, for fear they might use them to commit suicide. If nothing goes amiss, stewards serve granola bars and water, or on longer flights a full meal. Sometimes they unlock the handcuffs of the deportees who have been shackled.
Yet provisions on ice Air have been a source of controversy. Last winter, a flight carrying 92 Somalians made a pit stop in Dakar, Senegal. During the layover, the plane waited for a fresh crew, which was delayed due to issues at its hotel. So the plane reportedly sat on the runway for almost 24 hours, the passengers never disembarking. One former ice official recalls a conversation in which a colleague boasted of an especially complex deportation to Gaza, which required traversing the Sinai Peninsula. He said the agency has felt intense congressional pressure to demonstrate that no nationality, no matter how small its presence in the United States, is beyond its deportation capacity.
Among the most important of these goals is the drive to constantly run its detention facilities at maximum capacity. In , Congress directed ice to add 8, new beds a year. In , the government maintained a daily average of 6, detainees; this year, the expected average is 40, But the system that Byrd helped enshrine encourages precisely that. Jeremy Jong, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, described to me a conversation he had with an ice official at a Louisiana detention facility.
Detention is a boom industry, backed by such megafunds as Vanguard and BlackRock, and it has experienced a decade of steroidal growth. Those prices have leveled out since then. Last year, the bipartisan army of lobbyists employed by the Geo Group and its primary competitors included power firms Akin Gump and the Gephardt Group, founded by former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt. That fall, the Geo Group celebrated its good fortune by holding its annual leadership conference at the Trump National Doral resort, in Miami. Both CoreCivic and the Geo Group maintain that they do not lobby for or promote specific legislation shaping immigration policy.
But according to NPR , the detention industry donated money to 30 of the 36 co-sponsors of the infamous S. The bill was eventually shredded by the courts on constitutional grounds. The detention system is supposedly encoded in civil law, but jails are inherently rooted in the criminal system. Many of the immigrants detained in jails wear brightly colored jumpsuits and live surrounded by bars and wires. Many of these jails, unlike the private facilities, have no capacity for handling non-English speakers. Still, the private facilities are run with the explicit goal of profit—a motive that can come at the cost of the well-being of detainees.
Several are in remote, rural areas , where land and labor come especially cheap. One of the primary private facilities in the South is in Lumpkin, Georgia, on the Alabama border, miles from Atlanta. Civil detention is explicitly not meant to be punitive—merely a necessary step in the administrative process of deportation—but the distance to some facilities makes regular visits from relatives extremely difficult. Immigration lawyers told me that they tend not to take cases in such facilities, because access would be so difficult. Marty Rosenbluth, a lawyer from North Carolina, relocated to Lumpkin.
And without a lawyer, their chances of victory in immigration court slump from slim 21 percent to nearly hopeless 2 percent.
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Take the CoreCivic facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which a group of lawyers and health professionals assembled by Human Rights First toured last year. In December, John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, issued a comprehensive report based on a series of surprise visits to detention facilities. Like many bureaucracies, ice strains for growth. When the agency was created, it employed just over 2, deportation officers, roughly the same number of employees as the San Diego police department. Beyond its own budget and its network of private contractors, ice has availed itself of a provision in an immigration law signed by Bill Clinton in That provision empowered the federal government to partner with state and local police.
In effect, this means ice can deputize police to enforce federal immigration laws. Not every jurisdiction has wanted to align itself with ice —indeed, most major cities have strenuously resisted, especially in the Trump era. Gwinnett County, in northern Georgia, once epitomized the old rural South, sparsely populated and largely white.
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But over the past few decades, its population has exploded in both size and racial diversity. When Trump signed an executive order allowing ice to detain essentially any undocumented immigrants it encounters, the Gwinnett County police responded enthusiastically. The early Trump era has witnessed wave after wave of seismic policy making related to immigration—the Muslim ban initially undertaken in his very first week in office, the rescission of daca , the separation of families at the border. But with them, the administration has devised a scheme intended to unnerve undocumented immigrants by creating an overall tone of inhospitality and menace.
Where immigration is concerned, Trump has installed a group of committed ideologues with a deep understanding of the extensive law-enforcement machinery they now control. One especially skilled participant is L. Francis Cissna, the head of the Office of U. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Cissna is a longtime bureaucrat at the Department of Homeland Security who styled himself a dissident during the Obama years. Then, in June, he announced the opening of an office that would review the files of naturalized citizens, reexamining fingerprints and hunting for hints of fraud that might enable the revocation of citizenship.
Cissna is part of a close-knit coterie of former Capitol Hill staffers whom Trump has placed in charge of the immigration system. Before Trump took office, the group clustered in the offices of the conservative politicians most committed to restrictive immigration policy, especially Senators Grassley and Sessions. According to former colleagues, the offices of senators such as John McCain and Marco Rubio would lose patience with them because of their eagerness to detonate any viable version of immigration reform.
They specialized in churning out missives to DHS that requested information about individual immigrants so detailed, they sometimes seemed intent purely on overwhelming the system. In , while he was a law student at Washington and Lee University, Hamilton took an internship at an ice detention facility in Miami. In , he scored a job as an ice lawyer in the Atlanta field office. Back then, Atlanta was known as one of the most aggressive cities when it came to immigration enforcement: The court there granted asylum to just 2 percent of the seekers whose cases it heard. The national average is about 50 percent.
Together, Sessions and Hamilton have instituted a highly insular, fast-moving enforcement operation. The work undertaken by Sessions, Hamilton, Miller, and their ilk is based to some degree on a theory first developed by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state. But for many years, he served as a lawyer for an offshoot of the Federation for American Immigration Reform—the loudest and most effective of the groups pressing for restrictive immigration laws. Kobach set out to remake immigration law to conform to a doctrine he called self-deportation or, more clinically, attrition through enforcement—a policy that experienced a vogue in , when Mitt Romney, campaigning for president, briefly claimed the position as his own.
If the risks of detention or involuntary removal go up, and the probability of being able to obtain unauthorized employment goes down, then at some point, the only rational decision is to return home. Even if putative fiascoes such as the initial Muslim ban and family separations at the border fail in court or are ultimately reversed, they succeed in fomenting an atmosphere of fear and worry among immigrants. The theatrics are, in effect, the policy. The administration has attempted to encode the spirit of that warning across the spectrum of immigration enforcement.
But anecdotal evidence suggests that ice has been operating more often in the vicinity of sensitive locations: Agents arrested a father after he dropped off his daughter at school, and detained a group soon after it left a church shelter. To date, there is little evidence that self-deportation is occurring in any meaningful numbers.
Ample data, however, show that increased fear has caused immigrant families to alter their life routines. One study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that undocumented immigrants tried to limit their driving in order to lower the chance of an inadvertent interaction with the police. Many immigrant parents now keep their kids indoors as much as they can. One woman told Kaiser she noticed that once-vibrant playgrounds in her neighborhood were suddenly vacant.
Likewise, police departments around the country have noted a sharp decrease among Latinos reporting domestic violence and abuse.
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In Los Angeles, for instance, reports by Latinos of sexual assault dropped by 25 percent in the first four months of compared with the same period in Women would apparently rather tolerate battery than expose their partner to the risk of deportation—or risk deportation themselves. According to the Houston Chronicle , waiting rooms at many health clinics serving undocumented immigrants in South Texas are half as full now as they were before Trump took office.
And schools in suburban Atlanta report that immigrant parents are reluctant to sign their kids up for reduced-price lunch programs. Researchers from UCLA interviewed teachers and counselors at schools across 12 states to gauge the impact of zero-tolerance immigration policies in the classroom.
They found that children of undocumented immigrants consistently expressed fear at the prospect of returning home from school only to find their parents and siblings gone. Fears of ice can be exaggerated by word of mouth or compounded by hyperbolic news reports, especially in the Spanish-language media. This spring, an immigration lawyer from Santa Fe named Allegra Love went to Mexico to visit a caravan of Central Americans headed to the California border. She conducted a workshop in a makeshift refugee camp in the city of Puebla.
You need to be afraid. You need to take that into account. D onald Trump talks a lot about the crisis at the border. But over the past generation, the U. It has invested vast sums in surveillance, fencing, drones, agents. A generation ago, politicians bemoaned the influx of Mexicans into the country.
Ten years ago, Mark Krikorian, one of the most prominent conservative theorists on the subject, wrote a highly touted book warning about Mexican plans for a reconquista : Through mass migration, he argued, Mexico would attempt to erode American sovereignty and exert influence over the United States. Yet just as he promulgated that argument, the problem he diagnosed was disappearing. In recent years, there has often been more migration to Mexico than from Mexico. The Pew Research Center has estimated that there were 1. In , the U.
But even as the nation solves one problem, politicians and bureaucracies concoct new ones. Border Patrol has started aggressively taking advantage of an old regulation, long ignored, that permits an expansive definition of border , encompassing all terrain within miles of the physical frontier. It has leveraged this flexible interpretation to set up checkpoints along I in Maine and to board buses in Florida to ask passengers about their immigration status.
Border Patrol has become a regular presence in cities such as Las Vegas and San Antonio—and its officers can be seen cruising highways in northern Ohio.
A similar mission creep afflicts ice. But there are only so many of them. Study after study has shown that immigrants commit crimes at much lower rates than the native-born population. Prudent policy, however, requires not smashing the system, but returning it to a not-so-distant past. Immigration enforcement was housed in an agency devoted to both deportation and naturalization.