New York Times (Editorial)
April 21, 2017
Anyone wanting vivid examples of the unjust consequences of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s hard-line immigration policy need look no further than Maribel Trujillo-Diaz, a mother of four children living near Cincinnati, who is her family’s main breadwinner and who has no criminal record. Or Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old Californian who came to the United States when he was 9 and had been shielded from deportation under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Neither fits the profile of a “criminal alien” or threat to the homeland. On the contrary. Ms. Trujillo had applied unsuccessfully for asylum and had been ordered deported to Mexico. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials sensibly saw no good reason to remove her, and allowed her to remain and care for her children — who are 3, 10, 12 and 14, and are American citizens — as long as she checked in regularly with them. That she did, faithfully, until she kept her appointment under the new administration, which showed no compassion. Now she is gone.
There are conflicting accounts between Mr. Montes’s lawyers and Homeland Security about whether his permission to stay under DACA was voided after he crossed into Mexico and tried to get back in. But there is no disputing he is a “Dreamer” — brought here illegally as a child, through no fault of his own, and by no means part of the cohort of alien predators feverishly evoked by Mr. Kelly.
Americans need to recognize and reject this great conflation of unauthorized immigrants with criminals.
Mr. Kelly spoke of lurid violence and existential threats while dismissing as inevitably false any accounts of enforcement overreach. Don’t believe, he said, any “partial and oftentimes inaccurate media reporting on some alleged incident at an airport, in a courthouse, or at a border crossing.” Those “alleged” events that Mr. Kelly scoffs at are doing real harm to immigrant families around the country.
This is not reasonable, it’s not smart and it does not keep the homeland safe. The reckless deportations of harmless immigrants like Ms. Trujillo and Mr. Montes are spreading fear far and wide, and dismaying those who recognize their senseless cruelty, like John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, who said, “We have enough broken families in the country.”
A version of this editorial appears in print on April 21, 2017, on Page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: Torn From Their Families for No Good Reason.
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