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Posts Tagged ‘ICE’

If you’re an un- or under-employed sadist, consider applying for a job with the Department of Homeland Security. You’d be a perfect fit for its workplace culture.

In late October, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy immediately after emergency gall bladder surgery. Her crime? Being brought to this country illegally as an infant. Perhaps it was an effort to top what a sister agency, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, had done earlier in the month — rejecting dozens, if not more, DACA renewal applications because the post office had somehow managed to delay delivery of them for weeks until after the October 5th deadline. Although the USPS readily acknowledged its colossal failure, and most US agencies and other institutions set the postmark date as a deadline, USCIS has its own set of rules:

According to U.S.C.I.S. regulations, a request is considered received by U.S.C.I.S. as of the actual date of receipt at the location for filing such request,” Steve Blando, a spokesman for the agency, wrote in a statement. He added: “U.S.C.I.S. is not responsible for the mail service an individual chooses, or for delays on the part of mail service providers.”

So — when a government agency makes a mistake that can destroy a young person’s life, it’s more imperative to abide by bureaucratic boilerplate than to exercise some flexibility and accommodation that will prevent irrevocable damage? This is the refuge of the brainless and heartless, Exhibit A for a mean-spirited agency that is out of control in its relentless execution of Trumpian malevolence.

Its website provides contact information for reporting employee “misconduct, corruption, fraud, mismanagement, wasteful activities, and allegations of civil rights or civil liberties abuse.” Accepting the invitation, I called the phone number provided, 800-323-8603, and communicated my disgust to an actual person. I encourage everyone else to do likewise.

[November 15, 2017 update: USCIS will now allow individuals whose DACA renewal applications were originally rejected because of mail delays to resubmit their paperwork. One would like to think that this policy reversal was a harbinger of things to come, i.e., a more humane approach to immigration, but short of a Donald Trump heart transplant, let’s not hold our breath.]

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I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, easily divisible, with liberty and justice for some.

 

Every now and then, InSanity is inspired to create a new American flag that better represents the reality that has overtaken the country. Our most recent entry commemorated the fealty that administration department heads pledged to Donald Trump at a famously laughable cabinet meeting. Eight years ago, we proposed this alternative, little realizing that such a flag would be back in fashion in less than a decade.

Just when we think that things can’t get any worse or lower, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can always be counted on to prove us wrong. For months now, the agency has been deporting mothers and fathers — the parents of children born in this country and therefore United States citizens — whose only crime was to enter this country illegally to escape horrendous violence or unending poverty. The fact that they’ve been leading productive, responsible lives ever since — working, paying taxes, raising families, and contributing to their communities — apparently counts for nothing when it comes to the draconian enforcement of Trump’s January executive order. (See this October 24 account by a Yale senior whose father is now in the process of being deported.)

One has to ask what possible public interest is served by breaking up an intact family that has taken root in America and caused no harm. Whatever happened to the use of prosecutorial discretion, to common decency and compassion, to common sense? Has ICE gotten rid of all “the bad hombres” already and now has nothing better to do with its limited funds and resources than go after the hard-working parents of American children — even kids themselves, sick ones no less?

Reports surfaced this week about the arrest of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who has lived in this country illegally since infancy. Rosamaria Hernandez was taken into custody at a Texas hospital where she underwent emergency gall bladder surgery. Border Patrol agents had stopped the ambulance she was riding in, followed it to the hospital, then waited outside her room until she recovered from surgery. Most patients would usually go home at that point but Rosamaria wasn’t able to: Agents arrested her and brought her to an immigrant detention center 150 miles away from where her parents live. (Update here.)

It’s hard not to conclude that the insensitivity, heartlessness, and cruelty on display in this situation is nothing other than the character of Donald J. Trump manifested as immigration policy. Our hypocritical narcissist of a president rants against athletes who take a knee or sit while the national anthem is played. Do actions like this, though, show any respect for what this country stands for? Or are they a stain on our most cherished values, an affront to all in whose name this is being done? We are a much better country than this, but for now, this latest flag is a symbol of what we’ve become.

If you’d like to voice your concerns, here is the telephone number ICE’s Office of Policy: (202) 732-4292. The White House comment line is at: 202.456.1111.

For an overview of existing or proposed Homeland Security policies governing unaccompanied children entering our country, please see this October 27 NY Times opinion piece.

 

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Friday’s newspapers reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency had stepped up its “enforcement actions” (otherwise known as raids) in cities across the nation in order to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. Unlike previous dragnets during Obama’s presidency that focused only on violent criminals, these could potentially include anyone who fit the broad criteria outlined in Trump’s executive order of January 25th — basically any undocumented immigrant.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security claimed that this week’s activity was a routine targeting of dangerous lawbreakers, and denied reports that checkpoints had been used. The administration’s ambivalent statements on the subject did nothing to assuage the panic and fear gripping at-risk minority communities. From the NY Times:

In Austin, Tex., undocumented women working in a laundromat cowered in the back of the room, petrified after seeing a video and a photograph of apprehensions outside a local grocery store and burger joint.

A day laborer and mechanic in Staten Island told his 17-year-old son where the list of emergency contacts were, including the name of the guardian who would take responsibility for him and his two younger siblings.

In Savannah, Ga., undocumented restaurant workers were asking for rides rather than walking home, afraid they might be stopped and questioned.

(more…)

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At a televised town hall meeting on January 12th of this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan assured an undocumented mother that there wouldn’t be a deportation force under the incoming administration, and that situations like hers would be handled humanely.

It sounded very compassionate at the time, but it was total BS. Thursday, less than a month afterwards, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) summarily deported Guadalupe García de Rayos, a Mexican native and mother of two U.S.-born children, who had lived in this country since she was fourteen. She may have been the first victim of Trump’s January 25th executive order to “prioritize for removal” any illegal immigrant convicted of, or even just charged with, a criminal offense. Caught in a workplace raid of questionable constitutionality 8 years ago, she was found to have a false Social Security number (the lowest type of felony), and spent 6 months in jail. While appealing voluntary deportation, she was allowed to continue living here as long as she checked in with ICE on a semi-annual basis. It was during one of those appointments on Wednesday that she was arrested and sent to Mexico the next morning.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called what happened a travesty. “She has been peacefully living and working in the Valley for more than two decades, and by all accounts was building a life and contributing to our community,” he said.

Is this what Ryan calls “humane”? Does tearing this family apart with zero time to even share goodbyes make us feel any safer — which is the ostensible reason for this draconian policy? Does it resemble anything you would associate with a “pro-life, pro-family” agenda? Is this the kind of country we want to have?

It is nothing but the cruelest of acts, and tells you all you need to know about Speaker Ryan, his Republican minions, and an Oval Office occupant who is a much greater threat to our democracy than any terrorist.

Every Law

Every Law Not Based On Wisdom Is A Menace To The State.”

Inscription at the base of a sculpture at the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department in Manhattan, just 31 blocks south of Trump Tower.

(photo by sm)

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