Deportation cases in CA, CO, CT, and MI belie DHS’s rhetoric
As we recently highlighted in a report assessing Trump’s first 100 days, the Trump Administration has laid the groundwork to implement a mass deportation plan that targets all 11 million undocumented immigrants, not simply “bad hombres.” While continuing to focus rhetoric on so-called security threats, President Trump and his Administration are using that as a smokescreen to remove every undocumented immigrant they come across.
The evidence is all around us. In the Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti and Ed O’Keefe recently analyzed new details of the January ICE raids. Their analysis, entitled “ICE data shows half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record,” found that:
About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the United States in the days after President Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses.
Meanwhile, disturbing stories from across the country continue to pore in, demonstrating that the Trump Administration is routinely targeting immigrants who were not considered priorities by the previous Administration – or any common sense definition – and breaking up American families. Recent examples include:
In Colorado, the Denver Post editorial board highlights the case of Arturo Hernandez Garcia:
Last week’s arrest of Arturo Hernandez Garcia in Denver sent an awful and chilling message across the land. We hope members of Congress are listening. Hernandez Garcia is well-known in Colorado as the first person in the country illegally to seek sanctuary in a church … When he exited the sanctuary, he did so with a letter from federal officials saying he was not an immigration enforcement priority. Since overstaying his visa years ago, he has applied many times for some kind of legal status or discretion in his immigration case. As it does for so many here illegally during years of lax enforcement, deporting Hernandez Garcia now means breaking up a family that includes an American-born child and one with deferred action status … The arrest, given its impact on the lives of millions of families here, represents a kind of gratuitous and hateful overreach that defies understanding.
In Connecticut, The Connecticut Post highlights the case of Luis Barrios, a father of four U.S. citizen children who is facing imminent deportation despite the efforts of U.S. Senators and Representatives on his behalf:
Connecticut’s senators announced Monday they are trying to prevent the deportation of a Guatemalan immigrant who was seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he is concerned that Luis Barrios, a Derby resident and septic-tank cleaner, was improperly targeted, since he has been living a quiet, hard-working life in the United States without permission since 1992 and has no criminal record. The father of four American-born children, Barrios faces deportation as early as this week.
In Michigan, The Independent (UK) highlights the case of Mario Hernandez Delacruz, who was deported back to Mexico and had to leave his family behind in Detroit:
After 19 years living and working in the US, paying taxes and raising a family, Mario Hernandez Delacruz was deported to a country he had not seen for two decades. His daughter, Estrella Garcia, and one of her younger sisters, drove him to the airport in the family’s Jeep Wrangler where he caught a flight to Mexico. On the way, they talked about their plan to carry on appealing his right to live in the US; on the way home, there were just tears … Mr. Trump had originally said his priority was deporting those undocumented migrants who had broken the law. But in Detroit and elsewhere, people who have lived in the country for decades and who have no criminal record are being detained and deported. Agents have been arresting people in courthouses and even as they leave church-operated cold weather shelters.
‘My father had no criminal record. He worked, he volunteered in the community, and two of his children are US citizens,’ says 23-year-old Ms. Garcia. ‘Now, Dad is in Cancun with his mother and she is living in poverty. He calls every day and he says it’s bad. He’s not allowed to apply to come here for 10 years… And neither my mother or myself can go there.’
And in California, Huff Post writes, “Teen Fleeing Abuse Sought Asylum In U.S. Children’s Shelter. ICE Detained Him On His 18th Birthday” highlighting the disturbing actions of ICE against Erik Javier Hernandez:
A teenager seeking asylum from ‘severe child abuse’ is currently being held in an adult detention center in Southern California after U.S. immigration agents shackled and arrested him in a youth shelter on his 18th birthday. Erik Javier Flores Hernandez fled northern Mexico in late 2016 to escape his abusive father, as well as drug traffickers who abducted and killed his mother and grandmother, according to the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, an advocacy group providing Flores with legal representation. The IDLC said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained the teen on Saturday despite their client’s compliance with guidelines that would likely have allowed for his release from the Office of Refugee Resettlement custody at 18 under the Obama administration …’There’s nothing about this arrest that serves any rational policy in the United States government. Period,’ said David Leopold, an immigration lawyer. ‘It’s cruel, baseless, mean-spirited, ugly ― it’s just wrong.’
Frank Sharry: Kelly has explaining to do
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
Secretary Kelly has some explaining to do. Every day, more examples emerge that put the lie to his claim that DHS is focused on bad actors. The facts on the ground don’t bear out the rhetoric coming from Washington. They are focused on anyone and everyone they can find, including good people who have lived in the U.S. for decades, working hard and raising families. Either Secretary Kelly is willfully misleading the public, or he’s believing his distortions and lies told to him by his agents. Either way, it’s time for him to hold his agency accountable for saying one thing and doing another.