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Families split by immigration status

For many families there is hope that new federal policies will directly benefit them and their loved ones. Though, that hope has not stopped thousands of unauthorized immigrants from being targeted and deported even as state and federal legislatures continue to debate over immigration reform issues. One recent case involving a Florida father’s fifth deportation serves as a sober reminder that discussions and legislation addressing topics like citizenship and immigration carry very real consequences for families around the country.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was instructed by the Obama Administration to prioritize investigating and deporting violent and/or drug offenders back in 2011. The administration’s rationale is to target those that pose a legitimate threat to public and national security, while concentrating efforts to most effectively use ICE resources. Along with taking the focus away from prosecuting nonthreatening undocumented immigrants, ICE recently released many from custody as sequester budget cuts loomed. 

And while such measures reinforce the understanding that many unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to live in the country until impending reform policies are enacted, some argue that detention facilities are largely populated by people who shouldn’t be there. In fact, they contend that detaining these immigrants is a waste of money and resources since they are likely to be protected once immigration reform measures go into effect.

One specific case involves an undocumented man who should not qualify for deportation, according to his lawyer. The father of four worked as a construction worker before being detained at the Broward Transitional Center. He is facing deportation even though he does not have a criminal record and all four of his children are here legally.  

It is yet to be seen if protest efforts or legal intervention may succeed in keeping the man from being deported once again.

Source: Source: Sun Sentinel, “Kids demonstrate for dad held in Pompano immigration lock-up,” Mike Clary, May 14, 2013

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