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DHS Immigration Enforcement Continues to Run Amok


Trump ramps up his Administration’s war on immigrants and American values

More observers are reporting disturbing examples of how the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement agencies ICE and DHS are unshackled and unaccountable, trampling on American values and separating American families. TIME magazine’s new cover story, titled, “Ripped Apart: The Cost of America’s Immigration Crackdown” (see cover image here), is a must-read and below are additional examples and coverage from the past few days on the topic:

Washington Post editorial: “The U.S. separates a mother and daughter fleeing violence in Congo”:

“A year ago, then-Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said publicly that his department might separate children from parents caught crossing the border, including those fleeing violence and seeking asylum, as a punitive means of deterring others who might follow. Officials floated the idea again in December, having presented it to Mr. Kelly’s successor, Kirstjen Nielsen. Future families should be aware that “there are consequences to illegal entry,” one official told The Post.

Now, as immigration advocates document such cases occurring nationwide — some said to involve weeping children wrenched from their mothers’ and fathers’ arms — DHS officials profess outrage at suggestions that they would do such a thing “for reasons other than to protect the child.” Claims that the department would be so heartless should be regarded “with the level of skepticism they deserve,” said Tyler Houlton, a spokesman.

So the department stands accused of doing precisely what it said it might do, but assertions that it is actually doing so should be viewed skeptically?

…Will Ms. Nielsen and her Homeland Security agents continue to traumatize an innocent child, or will they permit the girl to be where she belongs: with her mother?”

Boston Globe article highlights disturbing ICE practice of arresting immigrants at their USCIS citizenship interviews.

“In less than a year, at least 14 immigrants in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island who had already applied for permanent residency have been detained by federal authorities. Like Calderon, many of them had married a US citizen, typically a straightforward path to permanent resident status. Most were taken into custody at US Citizenship and Immigration Services offices, where they had come for scheduled interviews about their application.

The arrest of undocumented immigrants who are regularly checking in with the government on a path toward legal status marks is a new and aggressive tactic by federal authorities, immigration lawyers say.

‘We have clients who are coming forward out of the shadows to apply for green cards and are being arrested before the process is completed,’ said Todd Pomerleau, an immigration lawyer at Rubin Pomerleau, a Boston firm that represented three men who were detained after they applied for residency. One man has been in jail since June.”

As the Star Tribune reports, outcry in Minnesota over the threatened deportation of an Augsburg University professor.

“An Augsburg University literature professor who faces deportation after losing an asylum bid years ago will report back to immigration officials next month after a Friday check-in that brought out dozens of students and other supporters.

News this week that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is gearing up to act on a long-standing deportation order against Mzenga Wanyama galvanized the campus. Wanyama, who first came to the United States in 1992 to attend graduate school, has taught at Augsburg for more than a decade. The university’s president and the mayor of Minneapolis voiced support, and students started an online petition on his behalf that drew more than 7,000 signatures in a day.

…Wanyama came to the United States in 1992 to study at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and later moved to the Twin Cities, where he earned a doctorate at the University of Minnesota. More recently, he applied for asylum, saying he feared persecution because of a 2004 newspaper article critical of then-Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.”

Washington Post story revisits the Trump-supporting Indiana town that had been in spotlight after deportation of community pillar and local restaurant owner Roberto Beristain:

“Few customers in this mostly white, conservative suburb outside South Bend had known Beristain, 44, was an undocumented Mexican immigrant. He had paid taxes, started a family and employed 20 people. His family says his only crime was living in the country illegally.

… [As Waitress at Roberto’s restaurant, Angela Banfi stated]: “I loved Roberto. He was my family. This couldn’t be right”

…[Restaurant regular patron Chuck Matheny]: “It changed my view on how the country treats its immigrants … I thought they would go after, like Trump said, those who were bringing in drugs and the rapists. But they went after a regular guy who just cared about living the American Dream.”