America's Voice En Español »
While Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly continues to maintain the charade that there’s nothing he can do to stop deportation cases (even though there is), hardworking immigrants with longstanding ties to America continue to be detained and deported. This week’s summary of cases includes a Massachusetts father with a son in the Navy and a Florida restaurant manager who is gathering support from the business community.
In Western Massachusetts, Niberd Abdalla is one of 1,500 Iraqis facing deportation due to a March deal struck between the Trump Administration and the Iraqi government. Niberd has lived in the US since he was 15 years old and has a 37-year-old son who is a servicemember in the US Navy.
Niberd was issued an order of removal in 2010, but for the last seven years, ICE merely required that he check in twice a year. Of course, everything is changing under the Trump Administration, and Niberd was picked up in June after his latest check-in.
A judge recently gave a temporary stay to undocumented Iraqi immigrants facing deportation, ruling that they could face “grave consequences” if they are deported without a chance to individually argue their cases. The stay is in effect until July 24.
Niberd has no family left in Iraq and English is his primary language. He also suffers from health problems — including asthma and chronic pneumonia; he relies on steroids and inhalers to breathe — that could be exacerbated by medical care if he is deported.
In Florida, the former CEO of Apple and Pepsi-Cola took to Twitter over the weekend to share an online petition asking supporters to help stop the deportation of Francisco Javier Gonzalez, the manager of the Pizza Al Fresco restaurant in Palm Beach.
Francisco has lived in the US since he was 15 years old, and has a US-citizen wife and three US-citizen daughters. If he is deported, his family would likely move to Mexico with him, which could put the girls –ages 5, 6, and 10 — at risk. Francisco received a stay of deportation under the Obama Administration and has been checking with ICE once a year. But three months ago, ICE asked him to check in again in June (this Friday), and his friends and family fear he’ll be detained.
As of today, more than 5,000 people had signed the Change.org petition, including some of Palm Beach’s most elite socialites. According to the Palm Beach Post, names on the petition include Chris Leidy, a photographer and grandson of Lilly Pulitzer; Nick Coniglio, a restaurateur and the son of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio; and Susan Phipps Cochran, an artist and member of one of the island’s oldest families.
Bruce McAllister, an attorney at a Palm Beach firm, even emailed members of the Palm Beach Town Council urging them to help Francisco stay in the US. As he wrote:
I implore the Mayor and Town Council to take all practical measures possible to influence your most prominent resident to protect this good man and his family from the sort of blind, bureaucratic action that often follows ill-considered or awkwardly worded policies.
ICE, however, released a statement last week that makes hope of another stay for Francisco seem slim.
In other news this week, Andres Magana Ortiz, a Hawaii coffee farmer whose deportation case drew national attention, voluntarily left the US last Friday ahead of a final removal order. DHS had rejected a petition to grant him legal status because he is married to a US citizen, and Andres was forced to say goodbye to his wife and three US-citizen children.
Andres had been in the US since he was 15, had earned a reputation as a respected businessman, and leased 20 acres of land and assisted 15 small farms. His case drew support from Hawaii’s entire Congressional delegation, which lobbied DHS to reconsider his case. A judge with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals also weighed in, calling Andres’ deportation order “inhumane” and saying:
the government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe…he will be returned to Mexico, having spent 28 years successfully building a life and family in this country. The government forces us to participate in ripping apart a family.