Change in immigration policy helps thwart deportation of two Georgia boys — none too soon

LatinaLista — When the Obama administration announced last week the changes to how Immigration and Customs Enforcement would prioritize the deportation cases of undocumented immigrants — deport those with criminal backgrounds and defer others with no criminal history — the news was met with cautious enthusiasm.

Screen shot 2011-08-24 at 3.16.11 PM.pngAfter all, no one knew how soon the changes would go into effect — and if they were really for real.

(L-R) Luis Enrique Hernández and Pedro Morales.

Well, now we know they are for real and the first two beneficiaries of the federal policy change underscore just how unjust it is to have a blanket deportation policy.

Reporter Gustavo Martinez Contreras of Atlanta-based Mundo Hispanico alerted Latina Lista to the news of the two beneficiaries who just happen to be DREAM students from Georgia. One is a senior in high school and the other a college student.

The high schooler, 18-year-old Luis Enrique Hernández, came to the US from Mexico with his family when he was 2-years-old. He’s now a senior in high school where he’s on the football team and an active wrestler.

College student, 19-year-old Pedro Morales, is also originally from Mexico and arrived in the US with his family when he was 7-years-old. Morales was preparing to start his first year at Georgia Northwest Technical College.

Both boys were taken into custody by their local law enforcement. Morales was taken into custody at a traffic checkpoint.

Both boys fit the definition of a DREAM student — good moral character, good students, never got into trouble with the law — in fact, they could be role models for the types of lives they’ve lead.

Yet, even with all they had accomplished and deserved to be proud of both boys were denied release on bail and sent to a detention center in Stewart, Georgia where they were held for two months.

Needless to say, the parents were devastated. What mother would not be in tears when such a cruel act, masquerading as law, would kidnap her son and tell him he was heading back to a country he had no or very little memory of?

Yet, legislators in states like Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma and others which have passed such senseless laws that deem Latino families less deserving of human compassion or empathy think it’s just fine to tear families apart and inflict such cruelty.

Thankfully, the change in immigration policy was enacted last week and immediately put into effect. The boys’ lawyer asked for a motion to close the case based on the new changes — and it was granted.

Both boys are now home with their families and trying to resume the only lives they’ve ever known.

Mundo Hispanico tried to get a comment from the Dept. of Homeland Security about the boys’ cases but has yet to hear back from them.

It can only be hoped that the wisdom of this change in federal policy resonates with enough legislators so that dialogue on real immigration reform can begin and Latino immigrant families and the nation can be whole again.

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