Yesterday’s shocking news on the deportation of Californian Juan Manuel Montes has increased the anxiety in the immigrant community. Montes, 23, came to the United States at age 9 and believed he was protected from deportation under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). This is the first reported deportation of a DREAMer covered by the DACA program and it’s causing panic. Montes lawyer is suing the Trump administration over his deportation.
“Juan Manuel was funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why or how,” stated Nora A. Preciado, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, (NILC). “The government shouldn’t treat anyone this way — much less someone who has DACA. No one should have to file a lawsuit to find out what happened to them.”
NILC executive director Marielena Hincapié asked, “how is it possible that in the United States of America you can be walking and be stopped by Border Patrol and then disappeared and sent to another country because you don’t have your wallet on you?”
Customs and Border Patrol initially claimed that Montes’s DACA status “had expired in August 2015 and he was notified at that time. Montes’s attorneys say they have proof that his DACA status is valid through 2018.”
President Trump and many Republicans, including Congressman Paul Ryan have promised that these young Americans that came here as children were safe from deportation. Like so much of the Trump agenda, their position on DACA is unclear. Attorney General Sessions speaking on FOX news gave radically conflicting statements.
“DACA enrollees are not being targeted, I don’t know why this individual was picked up,” he said. “Everybody in the country illegally is subject to being deported, so people come here and they stay here a few years and somehow they think they are not subject to being deported — well, they are.”
As the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Session’s statement suggests no undocumented immigrant is safe from deportation.
“We can’t promise people who are here unlawfully that they aren’t going to be deported, “ Sessions added. That appears to blatantly contradict Trump and Ryan’s promises.
Iowa’s premier immigrant basher Congressman Steve King couldn’t resist adding his racists remarks to inflame this incident. King has been urging Trump to rescind DACA protections for these children.
King tweeted a beer toast to the Border Patrol thanking them for this DACA deportation. “First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one’s for you.”
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 18, 2017
Democrats were quick to react to this cruel treatment of a DACA protected American. They questioned Homeland Security policies and the apparent disconnect.
Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said he had a promise from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, “that no one with DACA would lose this protection unless they violated the terms of DACA.”
House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi D-California, called this deportation, “an indiscriminate deportation dragnet of appalling inhumanity … The Trump Administration is terrorizing patriotic young people who want nothing more than to live, work and contribute to the country they love — the only home they’ve ever known,” said Pelosi. “The Trump Administration’s cruelty toward the DREAMers disgraces our values as a nation. Shame on them.”
The NILC, the immigrant advocacy group defending Montes, tweeted this in response to the deportation.
The Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has been warning undocumented Iowans about the possibility of getting arrested. The LULAC website posted this warning on March 7th.
“Almost a dozen Latinos have been pulled over in central Iowa, questioned and then arrested once found to be undocumented … We’ve been told by either law enforcement officials or family members, all of whom want to remain anonymous to protect their families, that these individuals were not committing any crimes at the time they were pulled over,” says Joe Enriquez Henry of Des Moines, the National Vice President of the Midwest Region of LULAC. “We believe this is racial profiling in that it targets all Latinos to find those who are undocumented.”
Mitch Henry the Co-Chair of Iowa LULAC responded to King’s tweet with this statement.
“It is unfortunate that Congressman Steve King has chosen to make more racist comments regarding the deportation of Juan Manuel Montes. Instead of making flippant remarks and toasting to this young man’s removal, he should be asking how someone who is here legally can be removed and his rights violated,” said Henry. “This is part of a pattern of behavior by King who flaunts his racist views proudly. He is an embarrassment to our state and our country.”
Iowa’s immigrant community deserves to know if their children are protected under DACA and are safe from deportation. Iowa’s undocumented residents deserve to know if they are subject to arrest for simply lacking documentation.
Many of Iowa’s immigrant families are made up of both documented and undocumented members. These families deserve to know whether the Trump administration and the Republican Party will respect these families from being ripped apart by deportations. Subjecting these immigrant families to the uncertain threat of deportation is cruel and inhuman. They deserve to know their fate.
The Republican Party frequently hypes the importance of upholding family values. These hard working immigrant families deserve the basic respect and due process of any other American family.
by Rick Smith