The Trump Administration’s DHS is focused on deporting any immigrant and every immigrant they can find – choosing “easy targets” such as those attending government check-ins who have no criminal records. In a powerful and heartbreaking piece published this weekend, the Houston Chronicle tells one local family’s heartbreaking story to demonstrate how “the rules have changed.”
This is yet another example of how ICE is relying on “silent raids” – targeting settled immigrants who have been deemed by previous administrations as “low priority,” who show up at regular check-ins with ICE, have been living in the country for a decade or more, have U.S. citizen children, and have nothing on their record that even remotely suggests they are dangerous.
“Out of Time: For a Houston Family, ICE crackdown shatters the good life they knew” is excerpted below and available online here.
Candidate Donald Trump inspired anti-immigration fervor across the country. He inspired panic at the Rodríguez home.
“Things have changed, Mr. Rodríguez,” Juan said the officer told him. “We will have to deport you. Stay here. I am coming back.”
Finally, he couldn’t stop himself from crying out and pleading.
“Please, please, please, my only crime is entering illegally, but I have always respected the law. I have always tried to go the straight path. I am a good father. I am a good father. … My girls are American citizens. They are good girls. They are good girls. Who is going to take care of them?”
The men looked at him but kept talking to each other.
Juan couldn’t stop. “Please, please, at least let me be here for my daughter’s graduation. She is the first one in the family to finish high school. Please, sirs, only for my child’s graduation. I beg you. …”
He asked Juan to turn over his passport. ICE had to prepare for his deportation.
Celia and the girls realized that he had only been given a brief reprieve. He would be allowed to remain in the country until after Karen’s graduation.
An ICE spokesman did not explain why the agency changed its practice with this case.
After each of the other check-ins, the ride home had always been when they thanked God for keeping them together.
This time, they did not pray. They did not offer thanks. They were just quiet.
The officer’s voice stayed frozen in Celia’s mind, “Ma’am, you have to do something.”
And there was the echo of what he whispered in her ear: “Here at ICE, we don’t like the media. We don’t like cameras.”
Celia turned her head to her husband from the shotgun seat: “Juan, we have to tell our story. This is not fair. We have to fight for our family.”