US Immigration – Where Are The Bad Hombres?

Immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir speaks in front of the Immigration building during a Rally a day after he granted temporary stay of deportation in on February 10, 2018 in (Photo credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Fri. Feb. 16, 2018: Donald Trump loves to talk about the bad immigrant hombres in the US. Listening to the dog whistle that was his State of the Union, one would conclude that there are “thousands and thousands” of criminal immigrants, including MS 13 gang members, running amok, murdering and slaughtering US nationals by the hundreds and as such, the US ICE needed to be vigilant in rounding up and deporting these “bad hombres.”

The reality is that the US ICE is rounding up and deporting thousands of non-criminal immigrants, including immigrants who would over-qualify under the Trump merit-based immigration plan and who have been living in the US and making significant contributions for decades.

By the agency’s own count, 37,734 “non-criminal” arrests in the 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number of the previous year.

Among them is Syed Ahmed Jamal, a Bangladeshi immigrant who has been living in the US for 30 years and was teaching chemistry as an adjunct professor at Park University in Kansas City and conducting research at local hospitals.

Jamal was arrested as he was getting ready to take his daughter to school even though the immigrant is on a temporary work permit and has graduate degrees in molecular biosciences and pharmaceutical engineering. ICE claims that while Jamal entered the country legally, he twice overstayed a visa and in 2011 violated a judge’s order to leave the country.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Lukasz Niec, a Polish doctor who has been living in the US for 40 years was arrested and is facing deportation because of a 1992 misdemeanor arrest for property damage when he was 17.

In Tukwila, a 32-year-old immigrant from Honduras called police because someone was attempting to break into his house. Instead, when police arrived, they ran Wilson Rodriguez’s name through the NCIC database and discovered he had a warrant issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rodriguez was transferred to ICE officials.

In New Jersey, three Indonesian Christian immigrants while their requests to remain in the U.S. are pending. Gunawan Liem of Piscataway and Roby Sanger of Metuchen were arrested by ICE while dropping their kids off at school and Parlindungan Sinaga of Woodbridge, was arrested in October last year. All have been living in the US for decades.

In Boston, a 30-year-old mother of two from El Salvador, Lilian Calderon, was detained last month by ICE after she went to an immigration interview while in Houston, Andres-Elias is being detained after living in the US for many years with his only crime being entering the country “illegally.”

In Virginia, a mother was sent back to El Salvador in June after her 11 years in the United States unraveled because of a traffic stop and in Connecticut, a man with an American-born wife and children and no criminal record was deported to Guatemala.

In Fort Lauderdale, a Jamaican immigrant who had overstayed her visa and was living in the US for many years, was arrested on board a Greyhound bus by US Customs agents and is now facing deportation. And in Boston, Fabiano de Oliveira was arrested while applying for a green card at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Jan. 9th.

The list goes on daily as ICE and Customs officials, emboldened by their new powers under the Trump administration, are running amok, or as Slate recently screamed in a headline, “unbound.”

Ironically, in a statement to The Washington Post, an ICE official said that the agency “continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”

Ask yourself which of these immigrants featured here are a threat to public safety and where exactly are the “bad hombres” that ICE is working so hard to protect us from?

felicia-j-persaud-hard-beat-altThe writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc. which owns the brands: NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.