According to Speaker Ryan, “The priority and the goal is to not go out there and deport DREAMers. The priority and the goal is to secure the border and deport people who are violent criminals who are making our communities less safe.” So why are people like Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos being detained and deported?
The problem is that Trump’s deportation force – ICE and CBP agents newly “unshackled” – are detaining and deporting Dreamers and hardworking family members who don’t come close to fitting that description.
Daniela Vargas (Jackson, Mississippi) and Daniel Ramirez (Seattle, Washington)
Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant was arrested and detained this week after speaking to the media about her experience hiding in a closet as ICE raided her house and detained her father and her brother. Dany was a DACA-recipient, but her status expired last November when she was unable to pay the renewal fee.
According to her lawyer, Abby Petterson, ICE will deport Danywithout a court hearing, because she came to the United States through a visa waiver program. Under the program, immigrants have no right to contest their removal, except under an asylum plea. In an interview with Huffington Post, Peterson argued, “She was 7 years old at the time [she came to the U.S.]. She didn’t waive those rights, her parents waived those rights. And now she’s an adult trying to assert her own rights.”
Dany’s case echoes that of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA-recipient who has stripped of his status and has been detained for nearly a month on fabricated gang-affiliation charges. As reported by RealClear Politics, Daniel’s lawyer Elizabeth Hadaway said, “Daniel is like all the other DREAMers who were promised – in return for providing very personal information, an extensive background check, and a substantial fee – that they would be able to live, study, and work without the fear of being detained and arrested.”
While some commentators are applauding Trump for not rescinding DACA – at least not yet – they’re missing the bigger picture: DHS agents are targeting and deporting Dreamers.
Fathers Detained and Deported
Jose Escobar (Houston, TX), Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez (Los Angeles, CA), Roman Zaragoza-Sanchez (Sandy, Oregon) , Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garcia (Phoenix, Arizona)
In Houston, Jose Escobar, a father of two and husband of a U.S. citizen, was detained and deported. Jose, who has no criminal record, was granted temporary protected status when he left El Salvador sixteen years ago. He lost his legal status when his mother incorrectly assumed he would be automatically included in her renewal application.
Since 2012, Jose has benefited from a temporary stay from deportation and a work permit with yearly check ins with immigration. On February 22, he went in for his annual meeting and was told he would be deported. In a press conference, Jose’s wife Rose, said, “I’m begging President Donald Trump to look into my case and see if my husband is really destroying America.”
As Rose fights to get her husband back in the United States, she faces another hurdle – how to explain Jose’s disappearance to their two U.S. citizen children, Walter, age 7, and Carmen, age 2.
In Los Angeles, ICE agents detained Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez as he dropped one of his four U.S. citizen daughters off at school. Romulo, a 48-year-old father has lived in the US for over half of his life and is being charged on a decades old DUI conviction. His arrested was heartbreakingly filmed by his daughter, still in the car, who can be heard crying as he is taken into custody.
In Oregon, Roman Zaragoza-Sanchez and his wife Rosalina came to the United States nearly twenty years ago and have five U.S. citizen children. Neither of them have criminal convictions, and yet, on Valentine’s Day, Roman was pulled over and detained by ICE on his way to work.
Rosalina explained, “They are reporting in the news that they are going to get only people who are criminals, but it is not the truth because my husband is not that person, And they took him,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
And in Arizona, Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garcia, a single father of three US citizen children, was detained on his son’s birthday after walking into a meeting with ICE.
These are not isolated incidents, across the country undocumented parents are preparing their children for the worst-case scenarios, assigning temporary guardianships and teaching them who to call if they come back from school to an empty home.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said:
It’s becoming painfully clear that all the smoke about targeting violent criminals is just that. While President Trump, Speaker Ryan, Secretary Kelly, and the rest of the GOP continue this ‘bad hombres’ charade, and the President throws in a comprehensive immigration reform head-fake, ICE and CBP are out of control. They’re talking about criminals while fathers and Dreamers are detained and deported. This is not what they promised and not what the vast majority of the American people want.