Clarke dismayed by deportations for minor infractions

Most of the nearly two million illegal immigrants who have been deported from the US since 2009 had committed only minor violations or did not have any criminal record, accord to a recently released New York Times analysis of internal US government records which reveal that two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases during the Obama Administration involve immigrants who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations.

Only twenty percent — or aproximately 394,000 cases involved immigrants convicted of serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, The Times study said. “Yet, the records show, that the enforcement actually grew, picking up more and more immigrants with minor or no criminal records,” it added.

The paper said the analysis is based on government data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act covering more than 3.2 million deportations over 10 years, and that records reveal

that the largest increases were in deportations involving illegal immigrants whose most serious offense was listed as a traffic violation, including driving under the influence. Those cases, The Times explained, “more than quadrupled from 43,000 during the last five years of President George W. Bush’s administration, to 193,000 during the five years President Obama has been in office.

It said also, that during the same period, removals related to convictions for entering or re-entering the country illegally tripled under Obama, to more than 188,000.

The data also reflect the Obama administration’s decision to charge immigration violators who previously would have been removed without formal charges, The Times said, adding that during the final year of the Bush administration, more than a quarter of those caught in the United States with no criminal record were returned to their native countries without charges.

Meanwhile, US Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn) a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, said in a statement that she remains firm in her commitment “to the suspension of deportation, and to a policy of immigration reform that recognizes the value of families.”

“Who could imagine that the removal of a father or mother from their children – for the ‘crime’ of violating traffic regulations – would not undermine the faith of those children in the due process of law or the good sense of their representatives in government?” she asked, and added:: “We could not reasonably describe a person who has incurred a parking ticket as a ‘criminal.’”

“Who could imagine that the removal of a father or mother from their children – for the ‘crime’ of violating traffic regulations – would not undermine the faith of those children in the due process of law or the good sense of their representatives in government?” she asked. “We could not reasonably describe a person who has incurred a parking ticket as a ‘criminal’”, the congresswoman added.

“This study only confirms the experiences of people in communities around the United States who watched as their neighbors and members of their family were deported for minor infractions, such as violations of traffic rules,” Clarke said in a statement this week.

Clarke and several of her House colleagues have asked President Obama to suspend deportations until the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform, “which would allow many of the 11.5 million Americans without legal status to remain in the United States as permanent residents and, eventually, as citizens,.” she told Caribbean Life. “Yet, the federal government has applied a policy of deportation that absurdly defines such men and women as criminals,” she added.

Clarke said the continued deportation of hundreds of thousands of people every year “imposes serious harms on the families from which men and women are removed, as well as on the community as a whole, without any benefit to our society.

“With illegal immigrants being deported at a record pace, Obama has said his administration is going after ‘criminals, gang-bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families.”

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