Family deportation stories can break your heart. We need to share the heartbreak that these families feel, to strengthen our resolve to stand in solidarity, to work for justice, to end the deport-everyone-absolutely-everyone policy pushed by a heartless regime. So here are deportation stories: the Rodriguez family in Texas, the Motino family in Ohio, Claudia Rueda in California, and more. Read them – and act.
Out of Time (Houston Chronicle, 6/6/17) Juan Rodriguez has lived in the United States for 16 years. He has tried to get legal residence, but after more than $30,000 in legal fees and multiple attorneys, he has nothing.He has checked in with ICE 25 times over more than 10 years. On February 10, accompanied by his U.S. citizen wife and their three U.S. citizen daughters, he went to check in again.
The officer stopped typing and took a long look at Juan, who remembers distinctly what he said next.
“See, we have a problem here. You are not a priority for this country anymore …”
“But I am a father, sir. I have three daughters to take care of. I am a good man, sir. I am a good worker. I …
“Things have changed, Mr. Rodríguez,” Juan said the officer told him. “We will have to deport you.”
ICE decided to let him stay for his oldest daughter’s high school graduation, but ordered him to report for deportation on June 29. The Houston Chronicle tells the family’s story.
As deportation looms, a mother’s vow: ‘Yes, hija, of course we will be happy’ (Houston Chronicle, 6/6/17)
“Back at home after church, with the house like an anthill, Celia watered the backyard plants, filled coolers with refreshments and attended to “the gentlemen from the New York Times.” The newspaper had sent a team of three video producers to shoot Karen’s graduation, which seemed an irresistibly poignant reminder of the moment in America. In a couple of hours, Karen, accepted at five colleges, would walk across the stage to receive her diploma as her father’s deportation clock inexorably ticked away.”
Across Country, ICE is Overseeing Mass Deportation of Immigrants Who Shouldn’t Be Priorities (America’s Voice, 6/6/17) Round-up of recent deportation stories, with links to news articles.
“Every day, Donald Trump’s mass deportation crackdown continues. Trump’s Deportation Force has been relentless in detaining and deporting all undocumented immigrants, whether that’s a grandmother who has lived in the US for a quarter of a century or a man married to a US citizen who is trying to adjust his status. Over and over, the lawyers and advocates who know these cases say that the person detained and deported should never have been a target for ICE. Under Trump and his Administration’s lack of deportation priorities, it doesn’t seem to matter.”
“Felix Yulian “Julian” Motino, a Honduran national who’d entered the country illegally in 2005, wanted to begin the process of gaining legal status. It was a longshot, but he’d built a life here and wanted to try to come out of the shadows. He worked as a house painter and paid taxes. He had two U.S.-born children, ages 9 and 6, and a U.S.-born wife of two years.”
Julian and Alexis Montino had asked for an interview with ICE for their marriage petition, seeking legal residence for Julian. After the interview, their petition was approved by immigration officials. The immigration agent told the couple to wait in the lobby for his supervisor. And then they arrested Julian and sent him to jail to await deportation.
OPINION: Immigration agents came for our student (Los Angeles Times, 6//17)
“On the morning of May 18, Cal State Los Angeles student Claudia Rueda disappeared in East L.A. The 22-year-old immigrant rights activist stepped outside her aunt’s home to move her mother’s car for street cleaning, but never returned. Hours later her family learned that she had been surrounded by three unmarked cars carrying an estimated nine plainclothes Customs and Border Protection officers who whisked her off to a detention center 130 miles away….
“However, data show a 25% increase in the deportation of Dreamers, as DACA recipients are known, in the first three months of Trump’s presidency, compared with the same time last year. Immigrant youth who encounter the police are more likely to have their DACA status revoked and be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Claudia’s case also illuminates the government’s apparent practice of going after undocumented activists who challenge its immigration policies. Claudia’s detention less than one week after her mother was released seems like payback by the CBP for her activism and leadership. She is one of several youth activists since Trump’s inauguration who have been targeted by immigration agencies in what seems to be an attempt to silence them.”
Uncertainty for undocumented graduates who aren’t ‘Dreamers’ (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/3/17) David Cruz Hernandez was elated in 2007, when President Obama instituted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He was a student at UC Santa Cruz, and working his way through college. Then he read the regulations: he was 16 years and 9 months old when he entered the United States. That was 9 months too old to qualify for DACA.
“Five years later, Cruz Hernandez remains anguished by his narrow miss. And he is part of a large group of people who have graduated from a California university or are on the path toward graduating, despite having no legal status, no pathway to a work permit and no protection from deportation….
“After finishing at UC Santa Cruz, he went on to San Francisco State, where he recently graduated with a master’s degree in molecular biology. But instead of perhaps seeking a biotech job in the Bay Area, he’s decided to depart his home in San Francisco for a prestigious university in England, where he will pursue a doctorate.”
Why is ICE closing its only detention center for transgender detainees? (Vice, 6/5/17) Lengthy, detailed article includes interviews with detainees, ICE officials, trans activists.
“The Bureau of Justice Statistics has estimated that there are about 5,000 transgender people locked up in prisons and jails across the United States—about a third of whom are estimated to experience sexual assault on the inside. There is also an average of 65 transgender women detained by ICE every day, many of whom are held in men’s facilities….
“ICE transferred a number of women from the trans pod at Santa Ana to Cibola County Correctional Center, a privately run detention center in Milan, New Mexico. According to local organizers, 11 trans women are currently held at Cibola, which they say is now functioning as a trans pod. ICE confirmed that the trans women at Cibola are being held separately from the general population.”
Trump’s pitch for making the Mexico border wall ‘beautiful’: add solar panels (The Guardian, 6/8/17)
“Putting solar panels on the wall would amount to mere decoration with no substantive contribution to its basic obnoxious function – a barrier separating one group of people from another,” said Langdon Winner, political theorist, philosopher of technology and author of Do Artifacts Have Politics?
“I’m wondering what the solar electricity would be used for? Electrocuting people who try to climb the wall?”
“On a school bus in San Antonio, Texas, a white eighth-grader said to a Filipino classmate, “You are going to be deported.” In a classroom in Brea, California, a white eighth-grader told a black classmate, “Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong.” In the hallway of a high school in San Mateo County, California, a white student told two biracial girls to “go back home to whatever country you’re from.” In Louisville, Kentucky, a third-grade boy chased a Latina girl around the classroom shouting “Build the wall!” In a stadium parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida, after a high school football game, white students chanted at black students from the opposing school: “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!”…
“This is my 21st year in education and I’ve never seen a situation like this before,” said Brent Emmons, principal of Hood River Middle School in Oregon. “It’s a delicate tightrope to walk. It’s not my role to tell people how to think about political policies, but it is my role to make sure every kid feels safe at the school.”
Visa Shortage Spurs Vacancies, for Jobs, at Tourist Getaway (New York Times, 6/8/17)
“Mackinac Island has a permanent population of about 500 people and just as many horses, but no cars. From May to October, the picturesque Michigan getaway relies on about 3,000 workers to power its economic engine: summer tourism.
“Historically, up to a third of those workers are foreigners, including Mexicans, Filipinos, Canadians and Jamaicans, who are hired on seasonal visas. But when many of the island’s business owners applied for those visas this year, they heard from the government that none were left.”