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As ICE Continues Indiscriminate Deportations, More Reminders of Toll on American Families, Communities, and Values

 

ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan’s testimony before the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee last week laid bare the Trump Administration’s radical deportation policy. In contrast with the usual spin that we hear from President Trump and DHS Secretary John Kelly that they are targeting public safety threats, Homan made it clear that the ICE strategy is to indiscriminately target the entire undocumented population in America and to intentionally spread fear throughout millions of deeply-rooted families.

In response to the subsequent outcry, Homan did not back track or attempt to clarify his comments to better align with the usual Administration rhetoric. Instead, in a series of follow-up interviews, Homan doubled down on his unvarnished description of ICE’s cruel strategy. About his testimony before Congress, Homan said to ABC News, “I have zero regrets. It needed to be said … If you choose to enter this country illegally, which is a crime, you should be concerned.” And Homan said to CNN, that undocumented immigrants, “should be afraid” and dismissed the impact of fear on immigrant communities by stating, “Is ICE putting the fear in the community or is it other people putting fear in the community?”

In contrast to Homan’s dismissive justifications, more examples from over the weekend show the real world consequences of the administration’s mass deportation policy on American families, communities, and values:

In her New York Times piece covering the immigration debate in the small town of Willard, OH, Miriam Jordan profiles local father Jesus Lara Lopez. For years, Lara has lived with a legal work permit and an Ohio driver’s license, and he has complied with yearly “check-in” appointments with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a condition required by federal immigration authorities. This year, the Trump Administration decided to undo all of that progress and put Lara on the road to permanent separation from his family. As Jordan writes:

In January, after the Trump administration announced that no one in the country illegally was exempt from deportation, immigrants like Mr. Lara became vulnerable. On March 28, when he arrived for his check-in with ICE in Cleveland, officials tethered an electronic tracking monitor to his ankle over objections from his lawyer, who argued that he was no flight risk.

When Mr. Lara raised his trousers to reveal the black, clunky device — he charges it every 12 hours — [his youngest child] Elsiy blurted out: ‘That’s a thing the police put. My Daddy isn’t a criminal!’

His application for a ‘stay of removal’ included several letters of support, including one from an official at a center where he studied English, learned how to operate a forklift and enrolled in a machine workshop. Such efforts were ‘testimony of his great desire to better himself to be able to thrive in his community,’ the letter said, aiming to prove ‘good moral character.”

… Their next-door neighbor, Jennifer Fidler, called Mr. Lara a role model. ‘All I ever see him do is work, take care of his children and go to church,’ she said. ‘Why would you get rid of a good person?’

Miami’s ABC 10, highlights how a local father has been separated from his family and is set for deportation:

When Raul Quiroga left his Miami-Dade home to go to work, it was a Monday morning like many others. He kissed his wife goodbye. He took his boys to school. The family never imagined they would have to spend this year’s Father’s Day without him. Last year, Quiroga’s 16-year-old son remembers he and his 9-year-old brother decorated a large cardboard with pictures. They used glue and markers to let him know that they appreciate everything he has done for them. ‘I have always been with him on Father’s Day. It hurts me that this year I am not going to be able to be there for him,’ Quiroga’s teenage son said. ‘He is the type of father that many people would want to have. He works seven days a week to make sure we have what we need and still makes time to play soccer and spend time with us.’

The New York Daily News reports on a Queens resident who helped clean up Ground Zero and is now facing deportation:

A Queens man put his health on the line to help remove hazardous material from Ground Zero — and now immigration authorities want him removed from the country over a 30-year-old criminal case. Carlos Humberto Cardona, 48, was one of about 41,300 people ICE agents took into custody during the first 100 days of the Trump administration. But Cardona is fighting for his freedom — with a Brooklyn federal lawsuit and a state clemency bid. ‘I can’t believe that this is happening to him after all of the sacrifices he has made. He says he feels like he’s being treated like a criminal,’ Cardona’s wife Liliana told the Daily News.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

Day after day, the Trump Administration is igniting personal tragedies for so many American families.  People who were once able to live their lives in relative peace are being uprooted from homes, jobs, and children, to be sent back to countries that are no longer home. Trump campaigned on a promise of mass deportation, and his henchmen are following through on it.  How many American children need to suffer before they begin to realize the damage being done?