Immigration Reform and Deportation Raids Do not Belong in the Same Sentence

It’s difficult to understand where the country is going when the President speaks of immigration reform as being crucial, while deportation raids continue unabated.

There have been far too many deportation raids over the past few months – or make that the past few years to get a handle on just what immigration reform really means to the politicians. On closer examination, it appears their priorities are deportation raids and beefing up border security – both of which are counterintuitive to the concept of immigration reform.

It’s clear that deportation raids do not reunite families. In fact, the end result is usually a single parent left trying to cope with the children and pay the bills. A single family struggling to make ends meet means U.S. citizens are paying the freight for a family torn apart by the drive to deport illegal immigrants – the same illegal immigrants that have jobs and are paying their way. That scenario does not make sense. Deportation raids are hardly the stuff humane immigration reform is made of, and they certainly do not provide a pathway to citizenship.

Which are we working toward: a pathway to citizenship as promised by the president under immigration reform, or a pathway to the border under a deportation order? The vast majority of those detained and deported do not have a criminal record and have not committed a crime, other than being in the country illegally. They have no documentation, but they have businesses; they are church member and our neighbors, who devote time to their communities. This is not the same thing as having a criminal record for drug dealing, stealing, robbery or fraud.

Many illegal aliens just want to be able to come and go as they wish to visit their families. Some have been living in the U.S. for more than two decades and, during that time, have become de facto, if not legal, U.S. citizens. They pay taxes. They pay their way. They are not criminals. They are deported for doing everything right. If this is the government’s definition of human rights, we have a whole other problem on our hands as citizens who believe in fairness and equality, and as attorneys who believe in justice for all, including immigrants.

More than 1.9 million illegals have been deported since 2009 when Obama first became the president. His administration has the dubious distinction of have the highest rate of deportations since President George W. Bush. What’s the holdup? The Senate did pass immigration reform in 2013, but it has been stalled in the House since then. Politics is a brutal game, and it’s a game that is hurting millions of immigrants who want nothing more than to find a place to call home and to be part of a community.