Among the most high-profile deportation cases since Donald Trump’s inauguration was that of Jorge Garcia, the Michigan husband and father deported earlier this year despite having no criminal record. Garcia had lived in the U.S. for 30 of his 39 years of life, but was too old to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported the dad of two U.S. citizens to Mexico. But Garcia hasn’t been alone. In Michigan and Ohio, the deportations of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record surged 117 percent in the past year:
Over the past year, there have been several arrests or deportations of immigrants in Michigan that have drawn criticism from some advocates, such as the deportation in April of Mario Hernandez, a married Detroit father of three children who lived in the U.S. for 19 years with no criminal record. The arrests of Iraqi immigrants last year for possible deportation also sparked an outcry.
Jose Franco, who leads the immigrant advocacy group One Michigan, said he’s concerned that federal officials are profiling Latino areas of Michigan.
“We have seen an increased presence of Border Patrol cars like never before … in neighborhoods across southwest Detroit, Downriver and many other places that tend to have heavy Latino presence,” said Franco. His group is trying to help alert immigrants to the presence of immigration agents.
According to data from the Detroit Free Press, there was a 126 percent increase in the arrests of immigrants with no criminal records, but only a 32 percent increase in the arrests of immigrants with a criminal record. And still, Khaalid Walls, spokesperson for ICE in the two states, claims that “ICE is focused on removing public safety threats.” Right. “It’s really creating a lot of havoc,” said Michigan Immigrant Rights Center’s Ruby Robinson. “People are worried, scared to leave their home, take their kids to school, given this pretty substantial rise in the number of detentions.”
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