Yesterday I saw a clip of the esteemed Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) speaking on Univision about the Obama administration's deportation policy as it relates to DREAM Act eligible students.
Congressman Gutierrez stated the following:
"You don't see any young people getting deported anymore, and when they are call me. We'll undeport you. This administration has made a point that no more DREAM eligible students will be deported from the United States."
First off, I'd like to state that I have the highest regards for Congressman Gutierrez, and I offer the following with the utmost respect.
Mr. Congressman, you couldn't be more wrong.
Let me first introduce you to 22-year-old DREAMER Yanelli Hernandez, who attempted suicide twice while being held in immigration detention as a result of depression attributable to her pending deportation. DREAMers across the country held vigils as part of “Undocumented Youth Mental Health Day" to bring attention to her case with the hopes of stopping the Obama administration from deporting her to Mexico.
It didn't work.
ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls confirms that Yanelli was just removed to Mexico this past week under a final order of removal. It is my understanding that there were no criminal grounds of removal brought against her, and that the sole basis for her deportation was an immigration violation. Whatever happened to common sense enforcement priorities?
Mr. Congressman, I am respectfully taking you up on your offer, and calling on you to "un-deport" her.
I'd also like to introduce you to DREAMer Gerson Armando Morales. When he was a child Gerson's mother escaped an abusive husband in El Salvador. She received Temporary Protected Status in the United States, which does not permit her to sponsor her children. As a result, Gerson was brought here illegally as a 12-year-old child to escape gang violence, and natural disasters in El Salvador.
He is now facing deportation from the United States. Please help stop it from happening.
These are just two examples from this week alone of how the Obama administration treats DREAMers, and such treatment is symptomatic of this President's proclivity of deporting children, mothers, and fathers. In short, in three years this President has destroyed more families through deportation than any other President in the history of this country. His record on immigration reform is nonexistent, and his human rights record deplorable.
But you know all of this.
My point being, President Obama should not be commended for his pandering lip-service, as more times than not his deportation review program is not preventing the removal of individuals with extensive family ties, and an absence of criminal records. I know, as I am in the trenches of the deportation war that Obama has been waging for over three years now, and let me tell you something, it ain't pretty.
The facts are that DREAMers continue to be deported daily by this President. My mother once told me that you will never find a solution if you ignore the problem. Unfortunately, our problem is this President's immigration enforcement agenda, and the problem will never be fixed if we ignore the undeniable fact that President Obama's record deportations are our problem.
Congressman, I am not writing this because I am in any way critical of the very hard work that you have been doing throughout the country on behalf of undocumented children. In fact, I can't commend you enough for your advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform. You will always have my unwavering support as a result. I only wish I could share your enthusiasm and join you in being "happy and proud to support President Obama for reelection." Because as it currently stands, this President is unworthy of the immigration reform vote, and he is running out of time.
Thank you for listening.
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law – including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).