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Splitting up families: current U.S. immigration policy

The Trump immigration policies continue to impact thousands of families nationwide. More and more families in which one or both parents are undocumented live in constant fear that they will be next in the attempt by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to round up and deport anyone living here illegally.

Despite California’s numerous sanctuary cities and passage of the California Values Act late last fall, California families are seeing their share of ICE’s policies and suffering the consequences thereof. For instance, ICE agents picked up one man, a crime-free agricultural worker and father of three small children, four blocks from his home while he was on his way to work. His wife, an undocumented immigrant herself, lives in terror that she will be next. If so, she faces the impossible choice of taking her three little ones to Mexico when she is deported there or leaving them as de facto orphans in the care of American friends and neighbors. The children have no legal rights in Mexico since they are U.S. citizens. Meanwhile, the federal government sued California earlier this month over its sanctuary laws.

Immigration officials are deaf to the pleas of immigrants and the arguments of advocacy and human rights groups that tearing families apart is a terrible national policy. Hardliners respond with such comments as these by Mark Krikorian, the Center for Immigration Studies’ executive director: “Illegal immigrants are supposed to be afraid of detection. . .they’re illegal, they’re breaking the law, why shouldn’t they live in the shadows?” “The parents can just take the kids back with them; no families have to get broken up.” Presumably applauding ICE’s 2017 record of deporting double the number of noncriminals as were deported in 2016, Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE told reporters, “If you’re in the country illegally, we’re looking for you.”

In the past few months, ICE arrested over 400 undocumented California immigrants in raids in Los Angeles and throughout Northern California. The number countrywide is considerably higher. Affected residents have no recourse other than constant vigilance and consultation with an experienced immigration attorney to determine if there is any way they can protect themselves.

Source: Time, “‘No One Is Safe.’ How Trump’s Immigration Policy Is Splitting Families Apart,” Hanley Sweetland Edwards, March 8, 2018

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