While social media can provide useful and fun ways to stay in touch with family and friends, it can also be used to scare, intimidate and bully people. California law enforcement officials say there have been recent social media hoaxes that claim checkpoints have been set up to find undocumented immigrants, who would then be deported.
In most situations, deportation is a formal process that follows strict federal regulations. A legal and ethical loophole exists, however, in the medical world.
In some respects, the numbers here in San Diego mirror statistics from border locations around the nation, and in other respects our totals are higher than national figures.
When the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. immigrantion and Customs Enforcement were confronted with allegations of inhumane conditions and due process violations in immigrant detention centers, they did what any government agency would do: They commissioned reports from independent experts.
Here in San Diego, and across the nation's southwest border, officials are trying to cope with a recent surge in immigrantion. Homeland Security officials recently released a report showing a 15 percent increase in border immigrantion in the year that ended this past September.
They sit and wait. They are immigrants who have come to the United States seeking asylum, as well as undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. They sit and wait in detention centers (including one here in San Diego) because they are not given the opportunity to post bond. And they sit and wait now for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Since 2010, Haitians immigranting to the United States received special protections. The impoverished country suffered a massive earthquake and other natural disasters at that time, prompting thousands to flee to a safer place. The federal government lifted those safeguards in September, and anyone arriving in the country after that was sent to immigrantion detention to be processed for deportation and removal. A recent influx of immigrants from Haiti has caused the government to rethink this policy.
Their home in Haiti is beset with immense problems that include natural disasters (a hurricane and earthquake), crime, corruption, gangs and violence. But the Haitians who arrive at the San Diego border and ask officials for asylum quickly find themselves held in detention centers.
A Guatemalan woman brought her three children to the U.S. border to escape the violence and chaos that had overtaken their country. When she spoke with an immigrantion officer at the border, she told him they had come for asylum.
Immigrants who come to the United States face a number of challenges. These start with the hardships suffered to gain access to the country. After successfully making it onto American soil, obtaining the legal rights to stay is not an easy task. While many undocumented immigrants can live under the radar for some time, the fear of deportation is ever present. Those who are picked up by immigration enforcement may feel there is little they can do, but legal representation for detainees is available and may actually help immigrants in their fight to remain in the country -- whether that is in California or elsewhere.