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Despite claims that they are going after “bad hombres,” every day offers new and heartbreaking evidence that the “unshackled” ICE and CBP agents that make up Trump’s deportation force are detaining and deporting non-criminal undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen children and deep ties to America.
The cruelty and chaos underway is separating families, sowing fear and causing immigrant parents to prepare for the worst. This week, a New York Times piece titled, “In Line for Paperwork, Immigrants Are ‘Scared They’ll Take Away Our Children,’” highlighted how undocumented parents fearful of being deported and separated from their U.S. citizen children, “have been lining up around the block in New York City to collect their children’s birth certificates. We spent a week in line hearing their stories. Most didn’t give their last names, and some didn’t give their names at all, for fear of deportation.” Read the full piece here. That’s right. American families are under siege and preparing for the worst because they fear their own government will rip apart their lives.
As the stories detailed below confirm, such fears are well-founded. These new stories follow on the heels of many others (see this recap from last week). As you read them, keep in mind that new polling from Quinnipiac reminds us that 3-of-4 Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want to see these immigrants legalized instead of deported:
“If her mom were sent back to her native Mexico, [teenager] Britzy wouldn’t hesitate, she said. Her mother is her only confidante. She’d move with her. But Lino frets about her three youngest children. Born in Illinois, the two youngest don’t speak Spanish well. It would be hard for them to acclimate to Mexico, she said. In the living room, Lino’s mother-in-law sat alone, terrified her son’s wife would be deported. She could barely speak. And when she did, tears started rolling down her cheeks.”
“María Maturino never imagined she might not see her 22-year-old son again in America because of a traffic stop … State troopers pulled over Vasquez for having dark window tint on his vehicle in the Montana Vista area, where he had been raised since he was brought illegally from Mexico to the U.S. as a child … Family and friends say they consider Vasquez a good man, a hard worker and a devoted father of a 4-year-old girl, a U.S. citizen. They said he planned to save up money to marry his girlfriend, also a U.S. citizen … Although he could have benefited from DACA, Vasquez did not apply for the program because of financial reasons.”
Lee’s coverage quotes Guerrero’s wife, who upon hearing about her husband being detained during his routine check-in with ICE, asked the officer: “‘why is this happening’ and he said to me, ‘the Trump administration is telling us to enforce everything’ … He said to me, ‘this is because we’re told now that we can enforce these orders.’ At that point I said, ‘This is America. This is a man who works five, if not seven, days a week. We’re married. We have a child on the way. We just moved to a new apartment and we have a nephew. How can you do this?’”