Washington, DC – The following is a blog post by Van Le, Digital Media Manager with America's Voice Education Fund.
From the Associated Press this week comes an article from Amy Taxin, who writes that ICE is tracking nearly 970,000 immigrants with prior deportation orders. Eighty-two percent have no criminal record, and ICE wouldn't say what proportion are being deported.
The 970,000 number is a subset of the 2.3 million immigrants that were reported last month to have some sort of check-in relationship with the Department of Homeland Security. Two million of them have no criminal record.
The numbers are important because they are the latest data points describing Trump's mass deportation agenda. Since Trump has taken office, advocates have noticed a disturbing trend where ICE has been suddenly removing immigrants who have lived in the US for years with check-in arrangements and/or prior deportation orders. Many of these people have been allowed to go on living their lives as long as they checked in with ICE every year, and some were even given work permits, driver's licenses, and social security cards. That is all changing now that Trump is in office and every week sees the publication of more stories about how immigrants going to routine check-ins are deported. Amy Taxin's 970,000 number means that ICE may be on its way to deporting almost a million immigrants who have lived in the US for years and done nothing wrong. As Taxin writes:
“For authorities keen on showing they’re beefing up immigration enforcement, immigrants who already have deportation orders are seen as an easy target. They can be removed from the country more quickly than newly arrested immigrants, whose cases can drag on for years in immigration court proceedings and appeals.”
This week's deportation cases:
At America's Voice, we've regularly been writing about the stories of deportation cases involving mothers and fathers who have done nothing to deserve being removed. Below is our latest list:
In North Carolina, a hundred advocates rallied in support of Mosa Hamadessa, who came to the US ten years ago and has been working as a mechanic while he petitioned for asylum. He has four children, three of whom are US citizens; his 9-year-old daughter is receiving cancer treatment at Duke due to a rare disorder. His daughter's oncologist wrote a statement to ICE agents which read: “If Nadine returns to the Middle East, I can assure you that she will not have access to an Orthopaedic Oncologist...on a personal note, I would mention that the Hamadeesa family are exactly the kind of people that we would want to immigrate to our country.”
In New Hampshire, a church usher was detained after not having the right fishing license, and he remains in danger of deportation even though he has a US citizen wife and child.His wife was due to give birth to their second child in late May.
In New York, a grandfather and father of two adult US citizens faces deportation in July after living, working, and paying taxes in the US for almost 30 years. Martin Martinez applied for asylum in 2004, but was denied and was first detained in 2013. He's been checking in with ICE since then, but recently had his deportation order expedited. ICE originally told him to buy a one-way ticket out of the US for Father's Day, but then gave him an extension of three weeks with a new deportation date in early July.
In Baltimore, a father was arrested after dropping his son off at school. Jesus Paraza has been in the country for 10 years, has a job and a family, and has no criminal record.Baltimore's Jewish community is rallying behind him, with dozens of people from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation learning how to help those taken into immigration custody. But ICE refused a petition to stay Jesus' deportation, and Jesus is likely to be deported to Honduras, from where he fled after being witness to a murder. His family, including his 10-year-old son, may be forced to come with him as Jesus' wife is also undocumented.
In Key West, a cook who has been living in the US for 16 years was on his way to work when police stopped him for blocking an intersection at a light change. When asked for his driver's license, Nelson Duarte produced an international driving permit and Argentinean identification. Police then issued him a traffic citation, criminal citation for driving without a Florida license, turned his car over to a towing company, and called Border Patrol. Nelson's case, as well as another Key West case involving a man who was detained after he was hit by a car while bicycling, prompted an op-ed on how it the "Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has taken on federal duties, becoming the far-reaching arm of the Department of Homeland Security in the Florida Keys" and calling for the Key West community to demand "more humane conduct from their officers."