In the last year, Donald Trump has directed his Administration to be more aggressive toward immigrants, unleashing the full force of the federal government to target and deport the undocumented, including those without criminal records.
“No one is safe,” a recent TIME headline said. ICE deportation arrests soared 40 percent from the same period last year after Trump took the “shackles” off the agency. Here are some disturbing examples of how the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement has run amok, trampling on American values and separating American families:
- Maribel Rivera Martinez, 47, had lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan for fifteen years, before she was deported in April, leaving behind her husband of 28 years and their four children, three of whom are U.S. citizens. She worked as a housekeeper and had a work permit, due to ICE previously recognizing that she was not a priority for deportation. On of her daughters has had serious medical conditions since birth, which has required multiple surgeries and specialized treatment, and she must now recover without her mother’s support and care.
- Lulu, 16, is a U.S. citizen, yet she was essentially deported when her mother, Lourdes Salazar Bautista, was deported last year. Her father had been deported years earlier. Lulu is now separated from her home and birthplace, Ann Arbor, her high school, and her hopes of attending medical school. She is now being forced to decide whether to move back alone to the U.S., where she feels she belongs, or stay with her family in Mexico.
- Yancarlos Mendez, 27, the stepfather to and caretaker for a 6-year-old paraplegic boy (a U.S. citizen) was deported to the Dominican Republic after he was stopped in Cincinnati for driving without a license. Mendez was the sole financial supporter for the family, after his wife was forced to quit her job to care for their son.
- Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, 28, a married father, was found dead in Mexico after ICE agents took the rare step of entering an Austin courthouse to arrest him, the first signal of a new tactic by immigration officials making courthouse arrests. His wife warned that her husband would be killed if deported. Three months after deportation, Coronilla-Guerrero was kidnapped by four armed men and killed.
- Maribel Trujillo Diaz, the mother of four U.S.-born citizen children and a candy factory worker, was the main breadwinner of her family. Her husband’s medical condition prevents him from working, her youngest daughter suffers from epileptic seizures, and her son has high blood sugar and early signs of diabetes. Trujillo was deported to a dangerous drug cartel region in Mexico, despite no criminal history and pleas by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich. Her case is being appealed.
- Amer Adi, 57, a successful Ohio businessman and a married father of four U.S. citizen children, was deported to Jordan after living in the United States for more than 40 years and despite having a stay of deportation filed by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). Adi had been called a “pioneer for [Youngstown’s] downtown renaissance” and his small business was recognized for helping to revitalize the city’s downtown district.
- Jorge Garcia, 39, was brought to the U.S. when he was 10 years old, but when DACA was announced, he was too old to qualify. His wife and two children are all U.S. citizens.
- Two brothers, Noe Lopez-Mulato and Randy Lopez-Mulato, were arrested and deported by ICE after being victims of a gun shooting at a Detroit soccer match. After testifying against the shooter, who was convicted and imprisoned, they qualified for a special U-visa, which allows undocumented immigrants who are victims or witnesses of violent crimes, to remain in the U.S. in exchange for cooperating with law enforcement. Despite their pending visa applications signed by the Detroit Police Department, ICE arrested the brothers and deported them to Mexico, along with two uncles from the same family.
- Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez, a devoted husband and father of four U.S citizen children and the primary caregiver of Juan, a wheelchair-bound young man suffering from severe intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy, was deported in September 2017. Pedro was the only one in their household who could lift Juan in and out of his wheelchair. Citing the physical, emotional, and financial costs, advocates for the family said that Pedro’s deportation “makes no sense.”
- Recently, farmworkers in California’s Central Valley were detained by immigration agents in the morning on the way to the fields. None had criminal records. Farmers fear more sweeps will drive away labor at a time when some are struggling to get enough workers to pick the crops.
- Lizandro Claros Saravia, 19, a Washington, D.C.-area high school soccer star who had been offered college scholarships, and his brother Diego, 22, were deported by ICE agents despite having no criminal records. “The ICE agents told me they were deporting the kids because Lizandro got into college, and that showed they intended to stay in the U.S.,” said Nick Katz, senior manager of legal services at CASA de Maryland, who represented the pair.
- Jesus Lara had lived in the U.S. for 16 years and is the father of four U.S. citizen children. He had no criminal record whatsoever and only came to the attention of immigration authorities because he was found to be driving without a license (an undocumented immigrant cannot legally obtain one in Ohio, where Lara lived). ICE had allowed Lara to stay in the U.S. with his family since 2014, since he was not a priority for removal, but under the Trump Administration, ICE changed its mind, and Lara was deported in July 2017.
- Martha Lozano, 52, a breast and thyroid cancer survivor and a single mother of three U.S. citizens with no criminal history, was deported in March 2018. Her husband was deported in 2009 after being arrested in front of the family as they drove to the hospital for a surgery related to Martha’s breast cancer. Their three sons will be left in the U.S. without their parents. Lozano was deported despite support from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and despite doctors writing a letter to ICE saying her health could be at risk without consistent medical follow-up.
Detained or released
- Cecilia Gomez was detained this month after showing up at a green card appointment where she was detained despite being a hair’s breadth away from obtaining legal status. Gomez says she was physically assaulted during her detention, and taken to several different detention centers across the country, which put her just hours away from deportation. Luckily, advocates intervened and Gomez was released after about a week in detention.
- Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, 19, was bullied in his school for being an immigrant. After an altercation, the school district police called the Houston Police Department, who turned the student over to ICE custody. The high school senior who was accepted into two colleges, was locked up in immigration detention and remains under threat of deportation. In 2017, Harris County was a “deportation capital,” with the second-highest number of ICE arrests in the nation. Advocates say all students deserve access to a safe educational environment, free from fears of ICE cooperation and deportation.
- Rosa Maria Hernandez, 10, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was arrested by Border Patrol as she was transported by ambulance to receive emergency gallbladder surgery. Immigration agents trailed her to the hospital, guarded her during surgery by standing watch outside her door, and placed her at a children’s shelter where she was alone and confused for 10 days. After a national outcry and an ACLU lawsuit, Rosa was released. Customs and Border Protection claimed they did not violate the “sensitive locations” policy forbidding immigration arrests at hospitals, schools, and churches.
- Daniel Ramirez, 25, a Dreamer brought to the U.S. at age 7, was a “collateral arrest” by immigration agents after an ICE raid targeted his father at their Seattle-area home. After Ramirez notified officials of his protected DACA status, they told him, “it doesn’t matter, because you weren’t born in this country.” The single father of a toddler was falsely accused of being a gang member. After being held in detention for six weeks, a judge ordered his release.
- Oscar and Irma Sanchez, the parents of a sick baby with an incurable condition, were arrested in a hospital waiting room, contrary to ICE’s sensitive locations policy. Border Patrol followed the ambulance as the parents carried their tiny baby — with an IV in his arm and a tube in his stomach — despite their lack of criminal history. Agents followed the father to the bathroom and watched the mother breast-feed. Border Patrol agents separately charged the parents and placed them in deportation proceedings. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) said the arrest “violates human decency” and proposed the “Protecting Sensitive Locations Act” to ensure the safety of persons seeking health care and other services.
- Two fathers targeted for deportation include Felix Garcia, a father of three whose daughter Belsy is in her last year of Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. Mozammel Hoque’s daughter, Mushrat, is a law student at Rutgers, and was recently granted a one-year stay of deportation after his 19-year-old daughter was left in a coma, following a car crash.
- Jose Flores, 37, a father of five children who fled the violence of Honduras, was detained by immigration agents following a meeting arranged by his employer, Tara Construction. Jose had sought worker’s compensation for a broken femur resulting from a workplace injury. Questions were raised about whether the company triggered his arrest by ICE in order to avoid liability in the workers’ comp claim. After two weeks in detention, he was later released.
- Daniela Vargas, 22, a Mississippi “Dreamer” who came to the U.S. from Argentina at 7 years old, was arrested in retaliation by ICE agents minutes after speaking out at a press conference about the ICE raid at her home targeting her father and brother. ICE stopped her car on the way home. “You know who we are and you know why we’re here,” they told her. Daniela was later released from ICE custody. “There are no priorities anymore,” her attorney said. “It seems to be almost a free-for-all” regarding enforcement.
- Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, 49, a married father of four American-born children, was arrested by ICE agents three blocks from his 14-year-old daughter’s school in Los Angeles. Sobbing, the daughter filmed the encounter that went viral, spurring a public outcry. After six months in detention, he was released, and an immigration appeals court threw out his final deportation order.
- Francisco Rodriguez, 43, a janitor at MIT and married father of three U.S. citizens with no criminal history, was arrested by ICE in Massachusetts during his immigration check-in. ICE ignored the support of the university, his union, and community members (including both of Massachusetts’ U.S. senators and his congressman), choosing to focus on deporting undocumented immigrants with jobs and families. Worse still, ICE denied a temporary release requested by his lawyers to witness the birth of his baby boy. Five months later, Francisco was released with a GPS monitor on his ankle, pending a request to reopen his asylum case from El Salvador.