Last year Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a change in its policy used to decide on deportations. This gave many people the illusion that, if not considered a danger to society, their deportation would be put on hold under a program focused on undocumented criminals.
However, just as with other immigration-related activities under the Obama administration, what was one day a hope has turned into a tremendous disappointment months later.
ICE said last August that it would review 300,000 pending cases under new light giving a great degree of prosecutorial discretion. The idea was to focus on taking action on the priority cases, those that involved dangerous criminals, and close the cases that involved undocumented individuals who had ties to the community as well as other criteria.
Last week, ICE’s director John Morton said at a congressional hearing that 150,000 cases have been reviewed to date and that 1,500 had been closed. In other words, only 1% met the new criteria or 99% of the cases involve dangerous individuals who are threaten our society.
That’s absurd! It is laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
National figures show that deportations have decreased but despite the criteria of “discretion,” even mothers of families continue to be deported.
This is the case of Blanca Cardenas of Los Angeles who, after being arrested for protesting the foreclosure of her home, was deported in one week, leaving her husband and children on the other side of the border.
It is normal that the hopes of an immigrant community would rise when the federal government says it is going to use a more sensible and humane policy to review deportation cases. And it is inevitable to feel deceived when once again the words ring false.