While the President’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform calls for (among other things) a proposal that will include regularizing the status of undocumented immigrants currently in the US “without animosity and without amnesty”, it seems like ICE was thinking of something different this weekend.
In the past week, ICE officials knocked on doors throughout Southern California looking for men and women who had ignored voluntary deportation proceedings and criminals who re-entered after being deported for crimes.
Those arrested were from 14 countries, including Mexico, Honduras, Ukraine, India, Japan, Poland, and Trinidad. Of the 761 people arrested, more than 450 have already been deported, Kice said today. LA Times.
I found the LA Times story on the raids interesting and enlightening when it comes to the debate on undocumented immigration. It leads and ends with stories about men in Santa Ana, home to many Mexican immigrants, convicted of DUI and rape. From that story, it would seem as if LA was swarming with undocumented immigrant criminals. While I don’t have much sympathy against violent criminals, I know that the majority of immigrants are not criminals, but saying someone just wanted to stay in the country to work probably won’t seel as many newspapers as talking about the rapist and 6 men in one house.
I talked a bit about the raids with a good friend who is an immigration attorney in South Pasadena. I wanted to find out a little more about what happens once undocumented immigrants are detained.
According to her, those who ignore the voluntary departure orders are harmless. She also said that there are more people who ignore the voluntary departure orders than criminals.
The way I understand it, voluntary departure (V/D) is a sort of relief and undocumented immigrants are lucky if they get it. My friend says that they usually have to pay a bond of about $500 after the judge grants the V/D. Undocumented immigrants are given some time to depart the country after paying the bond. When they arrive in the home country, they need to go to the US embassy there and get proof that they have returned. Those who are denied bond have to stay in detention and it can be several months before the deportation order is finalized. As usual, this all depends on the circumstances and which country the undocumented immigrant is from.