The Obama Administration swears that their deportation program has only captured criminals and sent them back to their home countries. Recently acquired data shows that to be false. Now we’re learning that not only non-criminals have been caught up in the immigration net. So have American citizens:
In a spate of recent cases across the country, American citizens have been confined in local jails after federal immigration agents, acting on flawed information from Department of Homeland Security databases, instructed the police to hold them for investigation and possible deportation [...]
One was (Antonio) Montejano, when a holiday shopping outing on Nov. 5 to a Los Angeles mall with his four children ended badly. After his young daughter begged for a $10 bottle of cologne, Mr. Montejano said, he inadvertently dropped it into a bag of things he had already bought. As he left the store, he was arrested.
With no prior criminal record, Mr. Montejano, 40, expected to post bond quickly at the Santa Monica police station on the misdemeanor charge and go home. He had his driver’s license and other legal identification, but because of an immigration detainer he was denied bail and held even after a criminal court judge canceled his fine and ordered the police to let him go.
Mr. Montejano was freed on Nov. 9 after American Civil Liberties Union lawyers sent Immigration and Customs Enforcement his United States passport and birth certificate.
“I told every officer I was in front of that I’m an American citizen, and they didn’t believe me,” Montejano said.
There are few hard statistics on the number of American citizens held for deportation, but obviously when you get more aggressive about deporting people – as the Obama Administration has, with a record 1.1 million deportations during his tenure – you’re going to get a higher number of incidents like this. And these are wrongful arrests, illegal actions being taken by immigration authorities. It’s far more than just the cost of doing business.
The cases profiled here involved individuals charged on misdemeanors. But we know that represents a minority of those deported. So the likelihood is high that there have been cases of American citizens not convicted of a crime somehow falling into the immigration net and getting scheduled for deportation. In fact, a few of them probably were deported, though ICE claims that they cancel any deportation orders if the individual claims citizenship.
And this, from an ACLU lawyer, is correct: “It’s sort of like the canary in the mine. If those who have the full due process rights of U.S. citizens are being detained, it tells us a lot about potentially unlawful people who do not have those protections.” Exactly. This shows the danger of Secure Communities and the mania over deportation the past few years.