All people mentioned in this article will remain anonymous because they fear retaliation.
A high school student, who lives in the city of Hollywood, Florida missed several days of school in the last week of February because his undocumented immigrant parents were detained and are now awaiting deportation.
The young student is himself now in foster care. His plight prompted McArthur High school officials to meet with social workers and case managers from several Broward county non-profit organizations to figure out how to help their undocumented residents.
Detention and deportation is not just a legal problem. According to several case managers who work in different areas of Broward county people are living in fear, a situation that increases behavioral and physical health problems. A group of counselors SFAL spoke with said people some sleep more, some people sleep less; some people eat more, others east less. People lash out in anger, break out in hives. Different people react in different ways.
And this student’s situation is not unique. The news is now full of stories about ICE actions to detain undocumented immigrants.
In mid-February the Washington Post reported that ICE had detained
“a 23-year-old Mexican immigrant who was living in the United States legally under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to a lawsuit.”
“It appears to be the first time that an immigrant covered by the program — which temporarily shields the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation — has faced removal proceedings without having committed a crime, a group of lawyers, including Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe and First Amendment lawyer Ted Boutrous, said in a petition filed Monday in federal court in Seattle.”
In the first few days of March Daniela Vargas also protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA was detained in Jackson, Mississippi after speaking at a news conference.
Despite the uproar from liberal pro-immigrant organizations detention and removal is nothing more than a policy implemented during the sixteen years George W. Bush and Barack Obama were in office.
Removal of immigrants starts to spike in1997 while Bill Clinton was in office, and the number of removals continues to rise through the Bush years.
According to politifact “if we add just the full fiscal years in which he [Obama] has been office, and for which data is available (2010-2014), there have been over 2 million removals. That corroborates Trump’s claim that “under Obama, millions of people have been moved out of this country.”
Trump’s administration adds to this existing climate of fear with his efforts to stop people from seven mostly Muslim nations with valid visas and even green cards from entering the United States.
The New York Times reported in February that, “the Trump administration’s far-reaching plan to arrest and deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants has been introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month. And much of that task has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened, newly empowered and already getting to work.”
If it was not clear yet it now seems obvious that legal permanent residents and naturalized citizens must support the undocumented. In the current anti-immigrant climate lawyers and pro-immigrant organizations are not enough.
Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach metro area is home to 450,000 “unauthorized immigrants” according to 2014 estimates published by the Pew Hispanic Center. How many are parents of children who came here very little and only know this home? How many are parents to U.S. born children?
Despite the anti-immigrant crowd’s calls for less government their policies are based on hiring more border officers, to deport the undocumented leaving behind thousands of children at the mercy of the ill managed government foster care system.