“LOS ANGELES — For years, immigrants facing deportation have been allowed to stay in the U.S. provided they show up for regular check-ins with federal deportation agents and stay out of trouble. After a brief meeting, they’re usually told to return months later to check in again.
Now, in cases spanning from Michigan to California, some of these immigrants are being told their time here is up.
Immigrants who already have deportation orders and were allowed to stay in the country under the prior administration have become a target under President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies, with some getting arrested on the spot during check-ins with officers. Such arrests have dismayed family members and sent chills through immigrant communities.
In other instances, immigrants have been fitted with ankle-monitoring bracelets. Others have been released much like they were during President Barack Obama’s administration in what immigration attorneys say appears to be a random series of decisions based more on detention space than public safety.
“Everywhere, people going in to report are just absolutely terrified,” said Stacy Tolchin, a Los Angeles immigration attorney.
Agents still consider requests to delay deportations at immigrants’ regularly scheduled check-ins if, for example, someone has a medical condition, said David Marin, who oversees enforcement and removal operations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles. But decisions are made on an individual basis, and efforts are being stepped up to procure travel documents from foreign countries to send people back home.
“They still have the ability to file a stay, but again, we’re looking at it in a different light,” Marin said. “There has to be an end game here.”
RELATED RESOURCE: Millions targeted for possible deportation under Trump rules
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is tracking nearly 970,000 immigrants with deportation orders. The majority — 82 percent — have no criminal record, the agency said. ICE declined to say how many must regularly report to authorities or are tracked by ankle monitors, and it is unclear how many are being arrested.
Trump boosted immigration arrests by 38 percent in the early days of his administration, but deportations fell from a year ago as activity on the U.S.-Mexico border slowed.
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.
“I just assume they figure this is an easy removal. All we have to do is deport this person, and that adds to our numbers of people who are out of the United States,” said Heather Prendergast, chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Liaison Committee.
Many immigrants with old deportation orders have lived in the United States for years and set down roots here despite having no legal status, which deportation agents were known to weigh to decide who was a priority for removal.”
Read the complete report at the link.
Our zany immigration laws encourage arbitrary enforcement. And Trump, Kelly, & Sessions revel in the chance to undo the modest attempts at rationality and humanity that Obama injected into the system and demonstrate their fake “toughness” through arbitrary actions directed at vulnerable populations who have actually become part of our society.
History will judge harshly those who pick on the downtrodden for their own cheap political ends and the satisfaction of abusing power over others. That’s why it is important to make a clear record of the immoral behavior of those in power.
For example, President Woodrow Wilson is finally being held accountable for his grotesque racism. Some of the early Jesuits of Georgetown Univeristy are just now being exposed for violating their sacred mission by selling African Americans literally “down the river” — splitting families in the process — to insure financial stability for Georgetown University. We are also coming to grips with the symbolic racism represented by many Confederate memorials, erected less to honor those who died in war than to symbolize continuing oppression of African Americans and glorify the systematic denial in the pre-1965 South of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.