Despite thousands of petitions and an all-night vigil to try and stop his deportation, Ardany Rosales Lemus–a father of two US-citizen children–was deported early today.
An statement released by ICE suggested that the agency might have been able to exercise prosecutorial discretion on Ardany’s case, but chose not to. As the statement said:
After conducting a comprehensive review of Mr. Rosales-Lemus’ case, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chose not to exercise prosecutorial discretion in this matter.
Ardany’s deportation puts President Obama ever closer to his 2 millionth deportation–a record higher than any other president has ever amassed. Obama has repeatedly claimed that he has no power to stop deportations–but prosecutorial discretion is already a policy under his Administration, albeit, to say the least, a not very well implemented one.
Ardany was not a deportation priority. He was detained last December after a minor traffic violation, and held in detention for almost a year, missing his own wedding and the birth of his baby girl.
He came to the US in 2005 from Guatemala to escape persecution, as an organizer encouraging youth to stay out of gangs and out of trouble. His work led to him receiving multiple threats and being beaten up by one of the most powerful gangs in the world. In the US, he asked for asylum but was denied. Now, Ardany has been separated from his family–just in time for the holidays–and they fear for his life.
And his deportation contradicts something that Vice President Joe Biden said just a few days ago, on a Twitter/Skype chat where one woman asked whether her parents–who are not citizens–could someday be deported.
Biden said that she did not need to worry, because immigration reform will soon become law:
You’re not going to have to worry about anything. And your parents aren’t going to have to worry about being deported. They’re going to get in line and they’re going to move exactly the way the bill calls for and they’ll be able to earn their citizenship within a time frame that’s rational.
According to Voxxi, dozens spent the night yesterday outside the detention center where Ardany was held, hoping to stop his deportation. Advocates there claim that ICE used decoy buses and vans to distract them while agents escorted Ardany out through a back exit. A call from him told them that he was no longer inside the center and had been taken to the airport.