Friday, January 25, 2008

So... what would you do if you were caught up in a sweep

By ICE and not allowed to provide proof you were an American citizen?

It's happening now. Here. In the United States.
Officials with ICE, the federal agency that oversees deportations, maintain that such cases are isolated because agents are required to obtain sufficient evidence that someone is an illegal immigrant before making an arrest. However, they don't track the number of U.S. citizens who are detained or deported.

"We don't want to detain or deport U.S. citizens," said Ernestine Fobbs, an ICE spokeswoman. "It's just not something we do."

While immigration advocates agree that the agents generally release detainees before deportation in clear-cut cases, they said that ICE sometimes ignores valid assertions of citizenship in the rush to ship out more illegal immigrants.

Proving citizenship is especially difficult for the poor, mentally ill, disabled or anyone who has trouble getting a copy of his or her birth certificate while behind bars.


The number of U.S. citizens who are swept up in the immigration system is a small fraction of the number of illegal immigrants who are deported, but in the last several years immigration lawyers report seeing more detainees who turn out to be U.S. citizens.

The attorneys said the chances of mistakes are growing as immigration agents step up sweeps in the country and state and local prisons with less experience in immigration matters screen more criminals on behalf of ICE.

ICE's Fobbs said agents move as quickly as possible to check stories of people who claim they're American citizens. But she said that many of the cases involve complex legal arguments, such as whether U.S. citizenship is derived from parents, which an immigration judge has to sort out.
And just where are these people being held as the immigration agents slowly plod through the bureaucracy? Where are these people's small children when both parents are swept up? What are they doing to these people when there is no oversight and no legal remedy?



Update 1/26: Distributorcap in comments noted this sounds like the Nuremberg 1935 law. Googling Wikipedia gave me this:
The Nuremberg Laws (German: N├╝rnberger Gesetze) of 1935 were denaturalization laws passed in Nazi Germany. They used a pseudoscientific basis for racial discrimination against Jews. People with 4 German grandparents (white circles on the chart) were of "German blood", while people were classified as Jews if they descended from three or four Jewish grandparents (black circles in top row right). A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of "mixed blood".


pygalgia said...

A simple catch-22. Is there anything in your wallet that "proves" that you are a citizen? A drivers license is not proof, nor how ever many credit cards you might have. Next step, national ID.

ellroon said...

We need to give the Department of Homeland Security some clearly identifiable uniforms so they inspire shock and awe. And really cool boots.. black and knee high.

So when you are stopped and asked for your papers you will tremble at their authority....

Distributorcap said...

has anyone ever heard of the Nuremburg Laws 1935....

just adding my 2 cents

mapaghimagsik said...

Hey, I've seen that picture -- or something like it before. Oh yeah, it was at Auschwitz...

ellroon said...

I can't believe we are repeating history like this. Is this because Georgie failed History in college?

mapaghimagsik said...

Well, you probably have read as much David Newert (perhaps more!) as I.

Not only are we repeating German History. We're repeating our history. George isn't the only failure.

It might be systemic. Perhaps because we haven't been forced to remember it over and over, we do it again.

ellroon said...

I confess I am still shocked at how many Americans so willingly supported the destruction of the Constitution, celebrated the blurring of the separation of church and state, declared Habeas Corpus wasn't important and torture was fine....

These are not American ideals. These are not what made us win WWII. These are stupid, cowardly, idiotic ideas... the worst of human nature.

Where on earth did all these stupid people come from?

mapaghimagsik said...

I dunno anymore. When I think about Sundown towns, my own exposure to racism, the occupation of the Phillipines, "Manifest Destiny", The Trail of Tears.

Perhaps these are American ideals. There's the ideals we hold up and there's the ideals we act on.

ellroon said...

Map, you put me to shame. I will remove my soapbox and creep away.

You are totally right. We have done horrible things while proclaiming loudly we are righteous and upstanding.

Let me reword my prayer: Please God, do not let our baser instincts rule our country. Let us now live up to what we profess this country is truly about: tolerance, equality, hard work, respect for the individual.

The other America is one that shames and degrades us and I don't want to know that country.