Law-abiding, tax-paying immigrants are being arrested and kicked out of the US because of the Trump administration’s crack-down on “illegals”.
Now, before you say, “Well, they got what they deserved—they shouldn’t have come here illegally,” you should know that each person in the list below had or was seeking residencial status or citizenship.
President Trump has called for tougher legislation to crack down on “open borders” that, according to him, “allow drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities.” So why doesn’t Immigration and Customs Enforcement focus on finding and deporting those gangs, instead of wasting time and energy on people who are clearly not criminals?
A Pillar of the Community
Amer Othman Adi, a Palestinian father of four, was deported in January 2018 after having lived in the US for 40 years. He owned a business in Youngstown Ohio, and is credited with creating jobs and reviving a desolate part of town. Denied a green card renewal because of false marriage fraud accusations in the 1990s, he had been able to remain in the US because of a private bill passed in the US House of Representatives.
When the Trump administration got rid of private protection for immigrants, he prepared to return to his native country of Jordan. But after receiving a phone call from ICE saying that his deportation had been postponed, Othman Adi put off his plans to leave. However, he was unexpectedly arrested on January 16th when he showed up for a routine check-in. “It feels like they deceived us,” his wife and daughters said.
A Child Inelegible for DACA
Brought into the US from Mexico as a child, Jorge Garcia had been a resident of Michigan for 30 years. He applied to change his status many times, but was only one year too old to be eligible for DACA (the Obama administration’s protection policy for children brought in illegally). He spent over $125,000 trying to become a citizen.
He was granted a stay of deportation in 2009 and attended yearly ICE check-ins. However, during one of these meetings in November 2017, ICE informed him that he would be detained and deported. According to his wife Cindy Garcia, ICE officials said, “time had run out under the new administration, that Trump wants everybody who has to leave out of the country”. Garcia will not be able to return to his family for 10 years, and he is struggling to cope with life in a country he knows little about.
For the family he left behind, their house feels “terribly empty“, says his wife. “I put (his shirts) on me, like just lay them on me because they still have his smell of his cologne and stuff… It gives me comfort to where my anxiety doesn’t flare up as bad.”
No Hugs Goodbye
Syed Ahmed Jamal, a Kansas professor, was arrested on Jan. 24th and is awaiting deportation. According to an NBC News interview with Jamal’s brother, ICE agents did not even allow his wife to hug him goodbye, telling her “that they would arrest her for interference”.
Jamal first came to the US from Bangladesh on a student visa in the 1980s. He later obtained an H-1B work visa and had been trying to obtain citizenship for years, according to his lawyer. He had been granted permission to stay indefinitely in the U.S. thanks to a policy from the Obama administration. His wife and three young children were shocked when ICE took him away on their own front lawn, as he left to bring his daughter to school. He has no criminal record during the three decades in which he has called the US home.
Susan Baker Anderson, Jamal’s neighbor, told CNN, “”I was totally surprised. He’s a sweet guy that comes in and does science experiments for the kids.”
His son Taseen wrote a heartbreaking letter on a Change.org page. “My little brother cries every night, my sister can’t focus in school, and I cannot sleep at night,” he said. “My mother is in trauma, and because she is a live organ donor, she only has one kidney, so the stress is very dangerous.”
Arrested with a Green Card
Lukasz Niec, a Polish doctor who worked at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Michigan, was brought to the States by his parents as a three-year-old. He has a permanent green card, and yet was thrown into jail for 16 days in January without being told the reason for his arrest. He is now awaiting possible deportation after having lived in the US for 40 years. Niec has no family in Poland and does not speak a word of Polish.
His family believes his arrest may have something to do with two misdemeanor crimes committed at age 17, which were expunged from his permanent record thanks to the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. However, ICE apparently does not honor that Act, and a tip from Niec’s ex is what most likely led them to arrest him.
Many of his colleagues and other members of the community have spoken up to defend his character. “I cannot say enough about his work ethic and his service to our community,” wrote Jose Angelo L. De Leon, M.D., in a letter to an immigration judge.