Letters: Deportation isn’t the answer
It’s most telling that John Sandweg, a former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, excoriates the inhumanity of current ICE deportation policies. His piece should be required reading for all members of Congress who continue to dither over immigration reform.
Sandweg’s well-considered remarks bring to mind the hypocrisy of politicians comfortably ensconced in the pockets of big agriculture and big business. If ICE suddenly were to deport all undocumented immigrant workers, the howls from business and agricultural interests would be deafening.
But until that happens, big ag and big business will remain mum. After all, they’ve managed to exploit desperate immigrant workers while shielding themselves from charges that they abide de facto enslavement.
I applaud Sandweg’s acknowledgment of the devastation wrought by the government’s mass deportation policies. He specifically questions the wisdom of deporting those who have returned to the U.S., and rightly points out that prioritizing this group disproportionately separates families.
However, Sandweg fails to recognize that all current deportation policies have this same impact. Shifting to another priority group of people within the broken immigration system is not the solution.
The government locks up thousands of immigrant fathers and mothers with no legal representation and no opportunity to have the individual circumstances of their cases considered by a judge. Many have lived in the United States for decades, and many have families that include U.S. citizen children.
Choosing to deport these individuals while denying them due process undermines core American values of justice. Until Congress passes true systemic reform, the president must suspend all deportations.
New York City
The writer is co-executive director of the Immigrant Defense Project.
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