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Heartbreaking Deportation Cases Explain Why 19 Senators Are Calling for Decreased Funding for Trump’s Deportation Force

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Today, 19 Senators released a letter to the chairs and ranking members on the Senate Appropriations Committee calling for decreased funding for President Trump’s deportation force and detention beds, and insisting that no money be used to fund a “costly and unnecessary border wall.”

Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

The Trump Administration is mismanaging our tax dollars, deporting hard-working moms and dads who are trying to comply with the government’s requirements,”   “Instead of doing the more difficult work of seeking out priority individuals, they’re arresting people showing up for their ‘check-in’ appointments. They’re separating parents from children on a daily basis, with absolutely no consideration of the consequences.  Their policy violates our values as a country, and these senators are right to try to reduce Trump’s deportation capacity.

These examples are just a few of many making the case for decreased immigration enforcement funding:

  • Ohio father Jesus Lara Lopez: Jesus Lara Lopez, a loving father and provider for four U.S. citizen children, is set to be deported despite having no criminal record and contributing to his community in multiple ways. In a new post for Medium, Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice; Deputy Director of America’s Voice; and friend of the Lara family, writes about Jesus’ pending deportation from the perspective of his oldest child, Eric (age 14) and a recent interview between the family and Miriam Jordan of the New York Times.
  • Colorado mom of three and domestic violence survivor, Ilse Cristina Rodriguez Sagarnaga, detained after a recent ICE check-in – another example of a “silent raid.”
  • In Massachusetts, John Cunningham a pillar of the Irish-American community in DHS Secretary John Kelly’s hometown of Brighton: John Cunningham, recently profiled in a Boston Globe column by Kevin Cullen, is set for potential deportation. Ronnie Miller, executive director of the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston said, “If they’ll go after John Cunningham, they’ll go after anybody. John is so well-known and so well-liked. If John Cunningham is not safe, no one is safe.”
  • North Carolina mom of a DACA recipient and two U.S. citizens, Minerva Garcia: The Winston-Salem Journal reports on the local support for longtime resident Minerva Garcia, who is scheduled for deportation on June 30th. As the paper reports, “Garcia left her home in San Nicolas in the Mexican state of Guerrero looking for better opportunities for her oldest son, Eduardo, who is blind and was 5 at that time. Eduardo, 21, has protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy begun by former President Obama and left in place by President Trump. Garcia’s other two sons, Antonio, 6, and Mateo, 3, were born in the U.S. and are American citizens. Garcia, who works temporary jobs, has no criminal record and has paid taxes for 17 years.”
  • In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo pardoned a 30-year old minor drug charge for Carlos Cardona in hopes that the former Ground Zero worker can remain in this country with his family: As the AP reports, “A former ground zero worker fighting deportation to Colombia for a 1990 drug conviction received a pardon from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday and will use it to challenge his removal from the country. Cuomo, a Democrat, said that if Carlos Cardona is deported he might not be able to receive adequate health treatments for ailments he suffers after working in the Sept. 11, 2001, recovery effort. ‘In the more than 30 years since Carlos Cardona has lived in this country, he has built a family and given back to his community, including in the aftermath of 9/11 when he assisted with ground zero recovery efforts at the expense of his own health,’ Cuomo said. ‘It is my hope this action will not only reunite Mr. Cardona with his wife and daughter but also send a message about the values of fairness and equality that New York was founded upon.’”

Trump’s budget request includes $2.8 billion to implement his immigration Executive Orders; a $1.5 billion increase to detain and deport immigrants; $362 million to hire and train additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol agents; and a $1.6 billion down payment on the border wall.

The Senators’ letter, led by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA); Richard Durbin (D-IL); Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Mazie Hirono (D-HI); Cory Booker (D-NJ); and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) emphasizes the costs and consequences of indiscriminate deportations occurring throughout the country, noting:

[W]e believe that existing funding levels should be reduced in order to limit President Trump’s mass deportation apparatus. ICE arrests of individuals with no criminal conviction have jumped 156 percent and make up a larger share of overall arrests as compared to last year. DHS should focus its resources on prioritizing actual threats, rather than targeting millions of unauthorized immigrants for removal.

President Trump and his appointees have largely eliminated prioritization and discretion from the immigration enforcement system. There is little room for the case-by-case review that would allow for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who have lived in the country for long periods of time, who are parents of U.S. citizen children, or otherwise have strong ties to their communities and pose no public safety threat. This has resulted in numerous families being separated and American children being traumatized. There are approximately 4.1 million U.S. citizen children and families that could be negatively impacted by these indiscriminate deportations. This indiscriminate approach to enforcement has sown fear and anxiety in communities across the nation.

The Senators’ letter, available in full here, was signed by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).