LatinaLista — Last month, an interesting analysis was released by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General that didn't get the kind of publicity it deserved.
It was titled Removals Involving Illegal Alien Parents of United States Citizen Children.
The analysis showed that between Fiscal Year 1998 and 2007, 2,199,138 "alien parents of U.S. citizen children" were deported. The majority of them were deported because they were here without proper authorization. In other words, they didn't have their paperwork in order. The second most common reason for them being deported was them being guilty of "criminal violations" that affected their immigration status.
Most people would accept the findings as fact and not give a second thought to it. After all, as sad as it is, it's just the federal government â€” Department of Homeland Security â€” enforcing the rule of law.
Yet, had it not been for a new study released this week by the Pew Hispanic Center finding that:
Hispanics represented 40% of all sentenced federal offenders in 2007, the single largest racial and ethnic group among sentenced federal offenders. Whites constituted 27% of federal sentenced offenders and blacks 23%. The remainder (10%) are Asians, Native Americans and those whose race and ethnicity is indeterminate.
More than seven-in-ten (72%) of Hispanics sentenced in federal courts in 2007 did not hold U.S.citizenship. They accounted for 29% of all federal offenders in 2007.
I never would have revisited that DHS analysis and uncovered proof of a very deliberate agenda.
In researching exactly when immigration infractions became federal crime, I ran across a web page at the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, operated by Syracuse University, explaining what aggravated felonies had to do with deportations.
I always assumed aggravated felons were serious criminals committing serious crimes.
Despite the aggravated felony label, many of these crimes have been interpreted by federal courts to include misdemeanors, even though misdemeanors are generally meant to encompass less serious or dangerous acts than crimes traditionally designated as feloniesâ€¦
In recent years, the federal courts have heard many appeals from non-citizens challenging the government's decisions classifying their crimes as aggravated felonies. Even while upholding many individual aggravated felony rulings, the courts have from time-to-time directly criticized the arbitrary nature of the law upon which these rulings were based.
Reading further, I discovered that for an immigrant to be deported as an aggravated felon was a grave occurrence for that immigrant because among the six consequences of such a ruling: Ineligible to stop deportation, Unable to apply for other legal immigration status, Guaranteed to be detained, Less access to immigration court and Less access to federal appeals courts there is one that is a killer â€”
Permanent ejection from the US. Most non-citizens who are deported from the US are not eligible to apply to return legally to the country for a period of from five to 20 years depending on their circumstances. But aggravated felons are permanently disqualified from ever returning to the US for any reason.
So, it was surprising to see that after all the times the Department of Homeland Security and some congressional representatives had claimed that they wanted these undocumented immigrants to "get at the end of the line" and come here legally, they purposely chose to deport the majority of "alien parents of U.S. children" as aggravated felons knowing that these parents would never be allowed to visit or see their children legally in the United States again.
It can only be assumed that this was an underhanded way to permanently rid the nation of whole families. Knowing it could take years before any court might remotely consider hearing a deported parent's case, the government most probably hoped that the children and remaining spouse would give up to rejoin the deported parent.
Since that one parent could never return, the government didn't have to worry about any of the family members returning â€” or so it was thought.
Anecdotally, we hear stories on a daily basis of most families who are separated will endure anything to stay in the country just because, regardless of the poverty, opportunities exist here that don't elsewhere.
While family separation is deplorable, it is despicable of our government to purposely attach an aggravated felon on to these parents whose only violation was not having the proper paperwork to be here.
It is clear evidence that there existed a deliberate agenda to keep these people from being allowed to come back into the country in the legal manner they've wanted all along.
Secretary Napolitano owes to these "U.S. citizen children" and to the integrity of the Department of Homeland Security to either revisit each case in which an alien parent was deemed an aggravated felon or wipe those cases from the books and start fresh.
There was a blatant injustice done and it's time that it was corrected â€” for the sake of the restoration of the public trust in federal government and for those US citizen children who were told their parents were aggravated felons.