California residents may not be surprised to hear that federal immigration authorities have substantially stepped up deportations in recent years. According to one person, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has deported more people during the three years of the Obama administration than under any other administration that came before. That has meant that some 400,000 undocumented immigrants are being forced to undergo deportation and removal proceedings every year.

One of these undocumented immigrants is a man who came here 16 years ago with his mother as a 6-year-old boy. In January 2010, officials discovered he was living here illegally after they arrested him in connection with an auto theft merely because his fingerprints were found inside a stolen vehicle. However, there was no actual evidence that connected him with that theft, so officials instead charged him with tampering with the car’s rearview mirror.

Today, the man is happily married, and he and his wife are attempting to establish a wholesale bakery. He is also helping to support his three younger brothers, who are citizens because they were born in the United States. Nonetheless, a judge has ordered him to come up with compelling reasons to stay by Jan. 17, 2012. If he cannot do that to the judge’s satisfaction, then he will be deported back to a country where has no family except a father he does not know.

Of the 400,000 people deported each year, 50 percent have no criminal convictions and most of the rest have only minor convictions. Unfortunately, it appears that federal authorities will only continue to step up deportation and removal proceedings. But, undocumented immigrants do still have legal rights, and it may be possible to even prevent deportation where the person poses no risk. For those living in California, it could be beneficial to consult with an immigration attorney, who may be able to help with securing a favorable result.

Source: The Press Democrat, “Petaluma man faces deportation,” Lois Pearlman, Nov. 25, 2011