Feb. 16, 2017 – The facts are in. Trump’s Deportation Force is in action. His executive order on interior enforcement eliminates common sense priorities for deportation. This means that any and all undocumented immigrants – including DACA recipients – are vulnerable to arrest, detention and deportation.
Daniel Ramirez Medina
Last night, news reports exposed the fact that ICE agents in Seattle, Washington arrested and detained Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old DACA-recipient. He has no criminal record and has been vetted and approved twice by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, instituted under President Obama, grants temporary work permits and reprieve from deportation for more than 750,000 young people. These undocumented immigrant youths came forward and passed criminal background checks in exchange for protection and a chance to fully contribute to the country they call home. According to Mark Rosenbaum, Daniel’s attorney, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, “The unprecedented and unjustified detention of Daniel not only violates the solemn promises made to him and other DACA recipients, but also violates his rights under the United States Constitution.”
Today, in Colorado, Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother of four, domestic worker, and longtime immigrant advocate, had to decide whether to seek sanctuary in a local church or risk deportation and attend her regularly scheduled meeting with ICE. In 2009, Vizguerra was caught with fake identification, which she acquired to work and provide for her family. As a low-priority for deportation, since then she has attended regular check-in meetings with ICE officials.
As reported by the New York Times, ““Tonight I have to think,” Ms. Vizguerra said. “Because I promised my children — and it was a promise — that it was going to be very difficult to remove me from this country. I have already fought so long to be here, now is not the time to give up.””
UPDATE: We just learned that Jeannette Vizguerra opted for sanctuary rather than risk detention and deportation at the hands of an increasingly aggressive ICE.
Guadalupe Garcia De Los Rayos
Vizguerra’s fears are well-founded. Just last week in a similar case in Arizona, Guadalupe García De Los Rayos was detained, deported, and indefinitely separated from her two U.S. citizen children. Lupita was taken at the local ICE office as she came to check in for her regular appointment this week, an appointment she has kept for years. She was required to check in regularly at ICE following a raid carried out by Sheriff Joe Arpaio – a man who has since been disgraced.
Within two days, she was deported to Mexico, a country she hadn’t seen for over two decades.
Miguel Angel Torres
In Texas, Miguel Angel Torres, a father; entrepreneur; and undocumented immigrant with no criminal record, was detained this week after being mistaken for his brother-in-law. His wife Irma Perez paid her brother’s parking tickets earlier that week, listing her own address when submitting the tickets. ICE agents then surveilled their house in order to arrest her brother. Instead, they ended up following Miguel, and, after he dropped his daughters off at school, he was arrested and detained. When he made it clear he wasn’t his brother-in-law, and that he had no record, they still insisted on detaining him.
As reported in the Washington Post: “Even though ICE’s PR campaign is that they’re picking up criminals and picking up people with prior deports, and I’m sure some of them are, it already seems like a lot of them are not those people,” [Mark Kinzler, an immigration lawyer who has helped Irma Perez] said. “People who work every day and try to take care of their families are getting swept up [too]….“I’m in shock because we always saw this in the news and it only happened to other people,” [Irma Perez] said. “It had never happened in my family, and it feels awful because it changes your life.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Let’s be clear. The President, DHS and ICE – with the quiet acquiescence of Republicans in Congress – will continue talking about bad actors even as they deport immigrants who are not. Trump’s executive order eviscerates any semblance of prioritization, meaning that a young man with DACA or a young woman who fed her family by working with fake papers are treated the same as a murderer. Trump’s Deportation Force has been given the green light to arrest, detain and deport any and all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in America. Warning: this is how a mass deportation strategy gets started. Let’s see it for what it is, and do everything we can to stop it before it gains more momentum.”
Read David Leopold’s recent Medium piece assessing the immigration executive order. Leopold explains that, “Trump’s plan is a blueprint to implement his campaign promises of mass deportation, and it puts in place the Deportation Force to carry out his plan.”
The mission of America’s Voice (AV) and America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF) is to harness the power of American voices and American values to enact policy change that guarantees full labor, civil and political rights for immigrants and their families. www.americasvoice.org