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ICE Reneges on Alleged Promise to Let Immigrant Father Stay, and Other Deportation Stories from this Week

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In Portland, ICE is starting to send text messages to immigrants they’re targeting, a new development which poses at least two challenges for immigrants and advocates.

One, ICE has been manipulating immigrants into divulging their native country and immigration status, which — unbeknown to them — can become evidence in a deportation hearing. And two, scammers frequently pose as ICE agents over text in order to con immigrants out of money. As Eileen Sherlock, a federal immigration attorney, told the Portland Mercury:

My biggest concerns are that there will be an increased risk of becoming a victim of fraud and, like in this case, that ICE officers will get individuals to admit to something over the phone that will make them subject to enforcement actions

New Hampshire father faces deportation despite long-time deal with ICE

In New Hampshire, Renato Filippi is fighting deportation even though he says ICE once promised him he could stay.

In 2002, Renato entered the US through Mexico with the help of smugglers and was arrested — but US officials allegedly recruited him to serve as an informant against the smugglers in exchange for being allowed to permanently stay in the US. He then worked inside a Texas detention facility for nearly a year, then relocated to New Hampshire where he was able to get a Social Security card, get a driver’ license, and find work. He checked in periodically with ICE, but this year — like thousands of other immigrants who have become suddenly become deportation targets due to Trump’s change in immigration priorities — Renato was told he had to leave. Renato says he fears going back to his native Brazil and that he has faced death threats. His lawyer is pursuing an appeal through the 1st Circuit Court in Boston and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Immigrant parents may get green cards after 24 years in US

In New York, a federal judge has reopened the case of Franklin and Gioconda Ramos, rescinding their orders of removal and scheduling a hearing which could soon lead to them getting green cards.

The Ramoses, who have lived in the US since 1993, were scheduled to be deported in late September. Four days before their deadline, their US-citizen son, Jason, and 34 others blocked the entrance to the federal building in Hartford to protest their removal. The same day, the couple learned they had been granted a temporary stay while an immigration court reviews their case.

According to the Hartford Courant, in 2001 Franklin filed an “Application for Alien Employment Certification”, which the judge ruled made him eligible to be grandfathered in under the 245(i) provision of the LIFE Act which allows immigrants with work visas to apply for residency if they pay a $1,000 fine. In 2014, Jason turned 21 and filed the paperwork for his parents to obtain green cards.

The family attorney, Michael Boyle, said that a federal judge overturning a deportation order is “not common” but “not entirely unheard of.”

Mentor, Ohio church joins sanctuary movement and takes in immigrant mother

In Mentor, Ohio, a mother of two has taken sanctuary at St. Andrew Episcopal Church, the latest example of how churches and congregations in the state have opened their doors to immigrants facing deportation.

Laura, who has lived in the US for 15 years, was recently pulled over by Painesville Police on a routine traffic stop and reported to ICE. When the church heard that she could be deported and separated from her sons, it felt called to help one of its community members. As Rev. Lisa O’Rear, the rector, said:

We weren’t seeking to become a sanctuary church. We just really felt called to help this family. We understand the risks and we are entering this on faith. We’re all in this together. This is an opportunity for us to unite.

St. Andrew joins a number of churches in Ohio and around the nation which have recently taken in immigrants in danger of deportation and separation from their families. In the last few weeks, immigrant mothers have also taken sanctuary in churches in Cleveland Heights and Columbus, Ohio.