Michigan man Jorge Garcia had to leave behind his family Monday because he is getting deported, according to The Detroit Free Press.
After years living in the U.S. for 30 years, a 39-year-old immigrant in metro Detroit was deported this morning to Mexico. Escorted by ICE agents, he said bye to wife and 2 kids before boarding. He was brought to US from Mexico when he was 10-yrs-old, too old to qualify for DACA: pic.twitter.com/KFPeweaMbG
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) January 15, 2018
Supporters told the outlet he paid taxes, and didn’t even have a criminal record. Even so, Garcia’s removal is in keeping with the current administration’s approach to undocumented immigrants. Even noncriminals are made a priority when it comes to removal. Then-Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly made that clear after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials boasted that arrest numbers jumped during the first 100 days of the Trump administration:
While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally. This is evident by the rise in non-criminal arrests over the same period, which increased from approximately 4,200 in 2016 to more than 10,800 in 2017.
It’s the end of a long battle for Garcia, who came to the United States from Mexico when he was 10. He built a life here with his wife Cindy and their two children. She and the kids are all U.S. citizens.
In November, Federal authorities reportedly told Garcia to go back to Mexico. He told the Free Press he’d asked ICE to stay their hand until the U.S. Congress passed a legislative replacement for DACA. They refused and insisted he leave by January 15. He is prohibited from coming back the States for at least 10 years.
“I feel kind of sad,” Garcia told the outlet Sunday night. “I got to leave my family behind, knowing that they’re probably going to have a hard time adjusting. Me not being there for them for who knows how long. It’s just hard.”
Note: Law&Crime sent ICE a request for comment on Monday, but a response was not immediately forthcoming because of the MLK holiday. We got a statement on the evening of January 16, 2018.
In 2006, a judge ordered Garcia to be removed from the United States, said the email. This started a lengthy court battle. Here’s the statement from ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls, explaining the government’s side of the story:
Mr. Jorge Garcia-Martinez, an unlawfully present citizen of Mexico, was ordered removed by an immigration judge in June 2006. Mr. Garcia-Martinez appealed his removal in 2008 to the Board of Immigration Appeals, where it was remanded back to the lower court, which subsequently allowed him to voluntarily depart.
After he failed to depart within the timeline of the agreement, he became subject to a final order of removal in 2009. ICE exercised prosecutorial discretion on multiple prior occasions in Mr. Garcia-Martinez’s case in 2011, 2012 and 2014. In a further exercise of discretion during the this period, Mr. Garcia-Martinez was never detained.
On Jan. 15, Mr. Martinez was removed pursuant to the judge’s removal order.
As ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.
[Screengrab via Detroit Free Press]