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Recent deportation cases underscore administration’s lack of moral responsibility

LatinaLista — It’s been recognized by many in the immigrant activist community that a strategy of the Obama administration to make immigration reform “palatable” to Republicans was to show them that the rule of law would be enforced when it came to enforcing current immigration policies.

In this regard, the Obama administration has outdone itself.

napolitano.jpgA new study released this week by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse housed at Syracuse University found that enforcement has heightened under Obama compared to statistics when Bush was in office.

Obama’s administration’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

While in the past individuals attempting to enter the country were simply deported, now more and more of them are criminally prosecuted for illegal entry. This jump in prosecutions under the laws concerning illegal entry and re-entry occurred despite the fact that southwest border apprehensions actually had been declining for some years and continued to fall throughout this period.

Similarly, in the remaining 89 federal districts not on the border, a growing enforcement effort by ICE and sometimes others resulted in expanding numbers of felony immigration prosecutions. During FY 2007 these prosecutions numbered 7,474; by FY 2010 they reached 9,769 — up 31 percent.

These unusually sharp increases in federal immigration prosecutions — for both the districts in the southwest and those in the rest of the country — directly challenge the repeated claims by members of Congress, scores of other politicians and government officials throughout the nation that the Obama administration was not actively enforcing the immigration laws.

Yet, there is a development that the Obama administration didn’t see coming and which could damage the global image of the United States if they proceed with this course of action of deporting undocumented immigrants back to countries where there are disease outbreaks and extreme violence targeting certain individuals.

Two cases that exemplify this dilemma facing the administration are the cases of Haitian Wildrick Guerrier and Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto.

Guerrier was deported to Haiti after being been convicted in Broward County of battery on a law enforcement officer and firearm possession. As soon as he returned to the island, he became ill and died from cholera, a disease that is still running rampant in the nation.

Guerrier’s fiance and immigration activists are asking that the Obama administration halts any further deportations since conditions on the island are basically a death sentence for anyone returning to the island.

Soto is undergoing an arduous asylum hearing in El Paso, Texas showing the U.S. courts that if he were deported back to Juarez, Mexico, he would be a marked man. He has good reason to believe this since he fled the country with his son when he received death threats from local cartel representatives.

International journalist organizations have deemed Juarez, Mexico and most of the country as one of the most dangerous places for journalists. If the courts refuse his request for asylum and deport him back to Mexico, it will only be a matter of time before he is murdered given his reporting on the violence in the past.

In both these cases, where it is known that returning to these countries would bring certain death or life-threatening illness to the deportees, the U.S. has an obligation unto itself to uphold this country’s belief in the sanctity of life.

If the US does not hold ourselves to such high standards, then we can say nothing about holding other countries up to the same standards.

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