Shortly after his inauguration, President Trump stated that his Administration’s immigration enforcement would focus on criminals, stating:
We’re getting gang members out, we’re getting drug lords out, we’re getting really bad dudes out of this country — and at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before…it’s a military operation.”
Yet as we have been highlighting, the Trump Administration has removed any semblance of discretion and instead of “criminals” is detaining and deporting virtually any undocumented immigrant they come across –including and especially “low priority” immigrants who are trying to comply with the law. If you’re an immigrant who has lived here for decades and have deep ties to the US — you can still be deported,.
In disturbing case after disturbing case, we are seeing versions of the same pattern: ICE is targeting immigrants who are the easiest to find immigrants and lowest priority. Frequently, this means that routine appointments at ICE offices are becoming the first step towards eventual expulsion from the United States.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
With disturbing frequency, ICE ‘check-ins’ are becoming ‘turn yourself in for deportation’ events. The Trump Administration doesn’t need to rely on raids when these ‘silent raids’ advance their goals of sowing fear among immigrants and deporting whoever they can get their hands on. Those showing up at ICE offices are typically immigrants who were deemed low priority by ICE in the past. They have significant equities, have built families, and have work permits. They walk into ICE offices to comply with the rules. Under Trump and Kelly, their equities and compliance are being rewarded with deportation.
Yesterday, we lifted up cases and examples in CA, FL, GA, ME, NC, and NJ fitting this pattern, following earlier examples from CA, CO, CT, and MI as well as high-profile stories such as those of Maribel Trujillo-Diaz and Roberto Beristain. Today, we have new and disturbing examples out of Georgia and North Carolina, which we highlight below.
In Georgia, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other outlets have highlighted, high-profile Dreamer named Jessica Colotl has had her DACA status revoked and is now facing, “Jessica Colotl, a Mexican national whose 2010 arrest in Georgia sparked a national debate over illegal immigration, has been stripped of her temporary reprieve from deportation, setting the stage for her possible expulsion. Federal authorities revoked the Norcross woman’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status this month, saying she admitted to making a false statement to a Cobb County law enforcement officer six years ago, though the charge was later dismissed … ‘Deferred action does not, in any way, prevent (the Department of Homeland Security) from moving forward with execution of a removal order,’ ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said.”
In North Carolina, Fox8 of Greensboro, NC highlights the story of the Marchi family: “Andy Marchi decided to become a City of Greensboro firefighter because his parents always told him to think of others … Marchi saves lives for a living, but right now there’s one life he can’t save and that’s his dad’s. ‘I can’t really help him out. That’s kind of rough and it really hurts,’ he said. His dad, Nestor Marchi, is an illegal immigrant from Brazil. He brought the family to the United States in 1994 in search of opportunity. ‘My goal was I come here and give him something and give my family a better life,’ Nestor said.
Nestor overstayed his visa and began working as a contracted airline mechanic. In 2004 he was caught in an immigration enforcement raid at his workplace. The Department of Homeland Security asked Nestor to give them information on fraud and abuse in the airline industry. He agreed, and they gave him a work permit. From 2005 to 2012 Nestor checked in with immigration every 30 days. After 2012, he started doing yearly check-ins. He would alert immigration of any changes in address and they would give him a work permit. But in April 2017 Nestor was told he needs to leave by June 15. ‘Life ended to me because being here for that long it’s just I’m trying to be American now,’ he said.
Nestor plans to follow orders and has already bought a plane ticket to go back to Brazil on June 14. But he is hoping immigration will give him more time, because he has congestive heart failure and a host of other medical challenges. Nestor and his son worry the slow-moving health care system in Brazil will leave him without a doctor’s appointment for up to a year and Nestor can’t survive that … Nestor hopes he can get his medical plans set so that one day he can return to the United States and be with his family … ‘I want to come back, I want come and see my son and they are talking about kids, I want to see the grandkids,’ he said.”