Thursday, April 23, 2009

Racial Profiling and the Deportation of American Citizens

We’re almost through the month of April and now past April 15th Tax Day Tea Party Protests. So what’s next on the agenda? It's an issue, which has been a longtime debate, between politicians, and citizens alike. Yes, I am talking about the immigration debate.

It has been reported that the Obama administration plans to tackle this issue in the upcoming month of May. Just in time for the upcoming discussions, comes a report released by the Pew Hispanic Center showing that the number of undocumented immigrants are actually flat-lining after a 16-year surge between 1990 and 2006. Yes folks, according to the report, the numbers have declined drastically.

The 2008 report, released on April 14, estimates that there were 11.9 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, down from 12.4 million in 2007. And among undocumented immigrants, 8.3 million of them (69 percent) were in the work force as of last March. - SOURCE
So what brought about the drastic change? Some may credit the aggressive actions of ICE, but that’s debatable. As a matter of fact, many undocumented workers picked up in raids or arrested for other crimes, are often left to languish indefinitely in immigration detention centers across the country. Some may say this decline may be due to the failing economy, which might be partially true. It has been reported that many undocumented workers are leaving the country to return to their homelands as employment has all but dried up.

So how do you feel about the current state of our supposed , immigration problem? Well, some may say that it is indeed a problem and presents a drain on the economy, jobs etc., while adding to an increase in crime. My guess is, you’d believe what you want to believe which is something we must be careful of as there have been many campaigns filled with much misinformation. I won’t get into that right now, as I prefer to deal with what you think in your commentary.

Something I found to be quite interesting which indicates just how broken the system is currently, is that there have been American citizens who have been deported. Citizens deported?! Yes, American citizens have been deported on many occasions. Ironically, the accidentally deported citizens were for the most part of Hispanic descent. Just proving how once again how the practice of racial profiling is often a flawed error in judgment.

The nonprofit Vera Institute for Justice found 322 people with citizenship claims in 13 immigration prisons in 2007, up from 129 the year before. That number does not include possible citizens in the nation's more than 300 other immigration prisons. - SOURCE
The gentleman pictured above is Pedro Guzman. Pedro, a gentleman of obvious Hispanic descent happens to be mentally ill, and unable to read and write. After being arrested some time ago, he was asked if he wanted to go home. Naturally, since jail isn’t the comfortable place like home, Pedro said yes. After which, he signed documents to help speed up the process of going home. Unfortunately for him, it was assumed that he was an “illegal immigrant”, and the home they were asking about was Mexico.

Sadly, Pedro, a Hispanic male who was born and raised in this country, was deported, and was separated, practically lost in a country he knew nothing about for three months. You can read the story of his ordeal as well as others if you don't believe anything I say. However, whether you do or not, you must understand that he’s not the only victim to be mistaken for an illegal immigrant. According to reports, there are at least 55 cases to this date where citizens have already settled with the gov’t on lawsuits, or are in the middle of litigation.

Yes, it’s quite obvious that the system is broken. If citizens can be “accidentally deported”, the system is indeed broken and needs to be fixed. I don’t know what your take may be on immigration reform, but I sure would like to hear what you think, as well as your suggestions on what needs to be done. Currently Pedro’s mother is in litigation with the gov’t pending restitution for their mistake. The upcoming immigration debates will be interesting, but sadly, stories like that of Pedro, and other American citizens will be overlooked. One only has to wonder if this would be the case if this were happening to White American citizens.

QUESTION:What are your thoughts on the "immigration problem" and what do you think should be done?


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