LatinaLista — One of the selling points of the DREAM Act — the bill that sets young undocumented people on a path to citizenship after meeting a laundry list of criteria — is the point that the ones who qualify have to be a person of strong moral character.
Marcelo Castañeda Llamas fits that definition. Marcelo was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 9-years-old; he is now 25-years-old.
(Image Source: ice.gov)
Unlike other DREAMERS who go on and graduate from high school and pursue their collegiate dreams, Marcelo had to drop out of high school before receiving his diploma.
He dropped out of school not because he was lazy or had gotten in trouble at school or with police but for a reason that is all too common in most Horatio Alger-type stories — to help support his family.
A young person doesn’t exhibit any stronger moral character than sacrificing his education for the welfare of his family. Though Marcelo has been dreaming of returning to school since the day he dropped out, his selfless act is about to be rewarded with deportation — and the absurd thing is he should never have been taken into custody.
Marcelo wasn’t picked up for driving a car without a license or working with a fake Social Security card or any other common reason given why most undocumented are picked up by law enforcement. No, he was picked up by Illinois police because he had the misfortune of being with his sister who had locked herself and him out of the car. She called the police to help her get back into her car.
The police opened the car door, but then they also arrested Marcelo and turned him over to ICE without filing any criminal charges or claiming that he had committed any crime. Marcelo is currently being held at the Dodge County Detention Facility in Juneau, Wisconsin. He may be deported as early as tomorrow.
Marcelo has one blemish on his record — he missed an immigration court hearing date in 2005 and an order for removal was issued. He was 19-years-old, and unfortunately, young people, regardless of their citizenship status, most times fail to comprehend the gravity of their actions or fear outweighs common sense.
I don’t know why Marcelo didn’t show up that day in 2005 but for a guy who has never been in trouble with the law otherwise and has been the backbone of support for his family, it still doesn’t warrant his removal.
He most certainly complies with the “supposedly” new rules enacted this summer by ICE Director John Morton of the Dept. of Homeland Security, under the Prosecutorial Discretion Memo.
According to the memo:
ICE, however, has limited resources to remove those illegally in the United States. ICE must prioritize the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to ensure that the aliens it removes represent, as much as reasonably possible, the agency’s enforcement priorities, namely the promotion of national security, border security, public safety, and the integrity of the immigration system. These priorities are outlined in the ICE Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities memorandum of March 2,2011, which this memonmdum is intended to support.
Marcelo has shown he’s not a threat to this country. Yet, inexplicably, the Illinois police officers who took him into custody and the ICE agents who placed him in detention and in deportation proceedings see something else.
To help raise awareness of why Marcelo is deemed a threat to our national security and stop the deportation proceedings, a petition has been started.
URGENT: Marcelo is currently being held in a detention center and could be deported as early as Tuesday! Please take action now to stop his deportation!