Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Local immigrant workers targeted for deportation

Having recently knocked failures of solidarity by national union leaders, it was nice to see local labor unions taking the lead at a small rally today outside federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE - Trump's deportation force) in support of Hugo Mejía and Rodrigo Núñez.

The two long time residents were drywall workers. When they reported to a jobsite at Travis Air Force base in early May, a military official turned them over to ICE; despite having lived and worked in the U.S. for over a decade without any criminal records, they have been placed in an expedited deportation process. The Mercury News reported their detention in mid-May.

President Donald Trump, who made enforcing immigration law a centerpiece of his campaign, has suggested the administration’s focus would be targeting illegal immigrants with criminal records. But critics say his executive order changing deportation priorities — which essentially made almost every undocumented immigrant a deportation priority — makes it easier to deport people with long ties to the U.S. like Mejia and Nunez.

“When the federal government indicates a desire to really go after people who are not citizens, then other parts of the government feel emboldened to target those groups,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, a Stanford law school professor and founder of the school’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. “There’s a ripple effect. The government sets a tone for what is acceptable and what is not.”

It’s unclear if employees or officials at military bases across the U.S. are required to report undocumented immigrants who visit the bases to ICE. A spokeswoman for Travis did not say if there are any such policies in place or if the individual who reported Mejia and Nuñez to ICE used his own discretion.

The two men have attracted broad community support.

Mejia and his family live in San Rafael; Rabbi Stacy Friedman brought a message of support for her congregation's neighbor.

Support rallies have been held in several Bay Area locations.


Brandon said...

This was on our news the other night. HawaiiNewsNow.com: "Smuggled Into US as a Teen, Respected Kona Farmer Now Faces Deportation to Mexico."

joared said...

We have a case in L.A. of a father who had driven his daughter to school as usual, but ICE was laying in wait for him. He had some earlier driving issues but none for a decade as I recall. Am sure there are numerous others all over the country who are not the criminal types we're told were the ones that would be deported.

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