San Diego residents may be interested in a story drawing fire from both sides of the political aisle when federal officials recently declined to provide information about and names of numerous people who had been arrested or deported. Citing privacy concerns, officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to give out the information and stated that due to privacy and other law enforcement reasons, the information requested is not deemed to be public information. The North County Times requested the names and information of people detained for alleged immigration violations via the Freedom of Information Act.
There may be upcoming changes to a federal policy about deportation and removal proceedings. The current one allows any undocumented immigrant who has been picked up by law enforcement to be deported, regardless of whether they have actually committed a crime. Changing the federal guidelines about deportation and removal proceedings has the potential to give San Diego immigrants something to look forward to because it may allow those picked up for minor offenses like traffic infractions to avoid immigration issues.
Two San Diego war veterans are fighting the immigration process after being threatened with deportation. The brothers served honorably during the Vietnam War, and one was even decorated with a Bronze Star. Now in their 60s, the brothers are protesting against the United States government and fighting to stay in the country. Both men are embroiled in immigration hearings requiring that they mount a vigorous deportation defense just to stay in the country for which they previously placed their lives at risk in going to war.
Illegal immigrants living in San Diego may have more hope after a recent decision by a federal appeals court. The decision delayed the deportation of seven individuals until a re-evaluation of their deportation and removal proceedings, leading to speculation that other undocumented immigrants may seek the same type of discretionary ruling, possibly allowing them to stay in the United States indefinitely. The immigrants allowed to stay for now do not have criminal records but were ordered to be deported anyway.
The United States immigration system is not necessarily clear or even consistent at times. Although both the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama administration have said that low-level offenders may not face deportation, that does not appear to always be the case. Moreover, individual states are either passing or proposing laws to make life more difficult for undocumented immigrants. At the same time, though, many in California and elsewhere are fighting for laws that would allow immigrants to more easily undergo the citizenship and naturalization process.Two such men who attend Pasadena City College recently returned from Alabama. The two are undocumented immigrants, and they went to Alabama to purposefully be arrested so as to protest a law that has been proposed by a state lawmaker. That law, if passed, would prevent undocumented children from attending a public school.
Unfortunately, the threat of deportation and removal proceedings for immigrants accused of committing a crime in California is not limited to crime shows; it is a fact of life for many immigrants facing charges. The Latino community is consequently disenchanted with the perceived failure of the Obama administration to live up to its campaign promises concerning immigration and deportation.