Despite claims that they are going after “bad hombres,” every day offers new and heartbreaking evidence that the “unshackled” ICE and CBP agents that make up Trump’s deportation force are detaining and deporting non-criminal undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen children and deep ties to America.
Families line up to collect children’s birth certificates
The cruelty and chaos underway is separating families, sowing fear and causing immigrant parents to prepare for the worst. This week, a New York Times piece titled, “In Line for Paperwork, Immigrants Are ‘Scared They’ll Take Away Our Children,’” highlighted how undocumented parents fearful of being deported and separated from their U.S. citizen children, “have been lining up around the block in New York City to collect their children’s birth certificates. We spent a week in line hearing their stories. Most didn’t give their last names, and some didn’t give their names at all, for fear of deportation.” Read the full piece here. That’s right. American families are under siege and preparing for the worst because they fear their own government will rip apart their lives.
As the stories detailed below confirm, such fears are well-founded. These new stories follow on the heels of many others (see this recap from last week). As you read them, keep in mind that new polling from Quinnipiac reminds us that 3-of-4 Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want to see these immigrants legalized instead of deported:
Families to Trump: “How can you do this?”
- CNN highlights the story of Francisca Lino, a Chicago-area mom of six, including four U.S. citizen children, and follows Lino and her family on the day of her scheduled annual check-in with ICE. The day ends in tragedy and confusion. After initially being told she would be given a one-year renewal, ICE then called her back to informed her that she has to report back in July for deportation to Mexico. The most powerful parts of the story are the family’s reflections:
- “If her mom were sent back to her native Mexico, [teenager] Britzy wouldn’t hesitate, she said. Her mother is her only confidante. She’d move with her. But Lino frets about her three youngest children. Born in Illinois, the two youngest don’t speak Spanish well. It would be hard for them to acclimate to Mexico, she said. In the living room, Lino’s mother-in-law sat alone, terrified her son’s wife would be deported. She could barely speak. And when she did, tears started rolling down her cheeks.”
- In a story titled, “US citizen’s dad stopped by DPS faces deportation,” the El Paso Times writes how Jesus Vasquez, a 22-year old who hasn’t been to Mexico since age 6 and is now the father of a U.S. citizen child, is facing deportation after being pulled over because of tinted windows, despite the fact he has no criminal record:
- “María Maturino never imagined she might not see her 22-year-old son again in America because of a traffic stop … State troopers pulled over Vasquez for having dark window tint on his vehicle in the Montana Vista area, where he had been raised since he was brought illegally from Mexico to the U.S. as a child … Family and friends say they consider Vasquez a good man, a hard worker and a devoted father of a 4-year-old girl, a U.S. citizen. They said he planned to save up money to marry his girlfriend, also a U.S. citizen … Although he could have benefited from DACA, Vasquez did not apply for the program because of financial reasons.”
- Esther Lee of ThinkProgress and local New York media are highlighting the case of Joel Guerrero, a longtime New York resident who came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic as a legal permanent resident twenty years ago. Now married with a pregnant wife, Guerrero is facing deportation. As Lee writes, “The reason that ICE detained him? He missed a court date on January 6, 2011 and has a misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession from a decade ago. Guerrero says the charge stemmed from having a marijuana plant when he lived in North Carolina.”Lee’s coverage quotes Guerrero’s wife, who upon hearing about her husband being detained during his routine check-in with ICE, asked the officer:
- “‘why is this happening’ and he said to me, ‘the Trump administration is telling us to enforce everything’ … He said to me, ‘this is because we’re told now that we can enforce these orders.’ At that point I said, ‘This is America. This is a man who works five, if not seven, days a week. We’re married. We have a child on the way. We just moved to a new apartment and we have a nephew. How can you do this?’”