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The arrest and detention of the 10-year old Rosa Maria Hernandez in Texas last week has sparked national outrage, but unfortunately it’s not the only example of inhumanity on display by Trump’s deportation force.
Who could have possibly imagined that a 10-year-old with disabilities being rushed to a hospital would be the target of federal enforcement? The harm done extends beyond Rosa Maria and her family to other parents who now will have to think about the risk of detention and deportation in deciding whether to seek medical treatment for their children. Is this really the image the Border Patrol wants for itself? Is this the image we Americans want for ourselves?
Rosa Maria’s doctors instructed that she be released to the custody of a family member, and, yet, ICE and CBP have rejected multiple attempts to have her released to her adult cousin, who is a U.S. citizen, or to her grandfather, a 45-year legal resident.
Rosa Maria’s treatment is shocking and cruel. Unfortunately, there have been many incidents of cruelty and inhumanity on display since Trump took over on deportations. His agents have completely internalized his anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric, to the point that they appear to not even see immigrants as humans.
In September, we highlighted the case of Oscar and Irma Sanchez, undocumented parents without a criminal record and with four U.S. citizen children, who were put into deportation proceedings because border agents arrested them at a hospital they had traveled to save the life of their newborn child.
In Michigan, the Detroit Free Press highlights the disturbing actions directed against two brothers, Noe and Jose Lopez-Mulato, who aided law enforcement and acted as key witnesses for prosecution against a shooter, only to be targeted for arrest and deportation:
The brothers, both of them undocumented Mexican immigrants, cooperated in the case and testified against the shooter, who was convicted and is now in prison. The cooperation made them both eligible for a special visa that would allow them to obtain legal status and live in the U.S.
…This month, while taking his son to school, Lopez-Mulato was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who pulled over a car he was riding. It was the last time he saw his 10-year-old son, who sat quietly in the back seat as the men with the words ICE on their backs handcuffed his father and took him away.
“They just said, ‘We have to take your dad.’ ” 10-year-old Randy Lopez-Mulato recalled of the incident, his voice quivering as he remembered his dad’s final words as the agents led him away … On Oct. 23, five days after his arrest, Lopez-Mulato was deported.
Four days later, life threw another curve ball at Randy: ICE arrested his uncle, Jose Lopez-Mulato — the man who went to his father’s rescue during the soccer shooting. Like his father, Randy’s uncle also applied for a special U-VISA to stay in the U.S. But ICE arrested him with the VISA application still pending.
In Oklahoma, The Oklahoman reports on the case of Luis Plaza, a dad of six and longtime local resident with no criminal record who was detained after a routine check-in – another disturbing example of a “silent raid”:
[A] family gathered Friday outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in south Oklahoma City to seek the release of their father, a man federal immigration officers detained earlier this week.
…A father of six, a man of Christian faith who works two jobs as a cook was detained by immigration officers Oct. 25 at the immigration field office at 4400 SW 44. “Plaza” — as he is called by family — went there to renew his work permit, his children say.
…Plaza married at the age of 15 and has never been separated from his wife, his family says. He has three children who are U.S. citizens — one who is a green card holder and two are recipients of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program gives them the ability to work legally in the country and avoid deportation.
And in Oregon: As we noted last week, ICE officials arrested a father of four in Salem, OR who was helping to remodel a house, even though they didn’t have a warrant. Carlos Bolanos and his co-worker, George Cardenas (a U.S. citizen), were working inside the house when ICE agents entered and asked for Carlos’ ID, because they had “reason to believe you’re not in the country legally.” In a video George recorded, George asked the agents for a warrant, and they incorrectly said, “we don’t need a warrant to come in this home.” The agents refused to give their names, and George told them, “I don’t think you guys should even be in here. You’re basically trespassing at this moment, right now.” After a few minutes, the agents surrounded Carlos, arrested him, and took him away (watch the disturbing video here).
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
Under the direction of President Trump and General Kelly, DHS is indiscriminately targeting ordinary immigrants who pose no threat to society. This includes the disabled and caretakers; moms and dads; and Good Samaritans and witnesses. In our name and with our taxpayer dollars, they are engaged in a massive operation to sow fear and separate families by deporting as many people as they can. Now, they are asking Congress to give them billions of more dollars to hire new agents and fill more detention facilities. We must demand accountability before additional taxpayer dollars are shoveled towards an out-of-control deportation force. Congress should demand answers, not write a blank check.