News / USA

Undocumented Immigrants, Some Freed from Detention, Seek Reforms

Undocumented Immigrants, Some Freed from Detention, Seek Reformsi
X
March 29, 2013 4:58 PM
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is feeling the budget sting brought on by strict cuts - known as sequestration - which took effect March 1. One result: DHS released thousands of undocumented immigrants it could no longer afford to hold in detention. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the issue of immigration reform now intersects with deficit reduction, two hot topics on lawmakers' agendas, and provides hope to thousands of immigrants facing deportation in the coming months.
Kane Farabaugh
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is feeling the budget sting brought on by strict cuts - known as sequestration - which took effect March 1.

As a result, the department released thousands of undocumented immigrants it could no longer afford to hold in detention. The issue of immigration reform now intersects with deficit reduction, two hot topics on lawmakers' agendas, and provides hope to thousands of immigrants facing deportation in the coming months.

On a late December night in 2012, U.S. law enforcement agents entered the suburban Chicago home of Cesar Henriquez, an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S., to arrest him.

His crime was failing to report for deportation. 

"There was a lot of pain on my family, and my kids.  I have two children. They are almost teenagers.  There was a lot of sadness in my house," he said.

Henriquez, spent almost 60 days in detention while waiting to be deported, until one early morning in lat January.

"They woke us up at two in the morning, and told us to pack up all of our stuff because we were leaving the facility," he recalled.

He was not sent back to El Salvador, his home country, but to suburban Chicago, where he would wait out deportation in his own home.

"At first I didn’t know why they released us, but somebody told us because Immigration doesn’t have any more money, so they can’t keep us in custody," he said.

Henriquez is one of thousands of undocumented immigrants released in recent months due to budget pressures.  At a news conference in February, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledged that sequestration would bring problems to her agency.

"Under sequestration, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement will be forced to reduce detention and removal and would not be able to retain the 34,000 detention beds as required by Congress," she said.

Joshua Hoyt, an executive for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, says he was surprised by the decision.

"If we are spending more than 18 billion dollars a year on incarcerating immigrants, hunting them down, stopping them at the border,  we’re wasting a lot of money," he said.

Hoyt says long-term savings on immigration enforcement could come with bipartisan legislation on immigration reform lawmakers currently seek.

"The entire country is now talking about immigration reform, and many of these people would be able to stay, and their families need not be destroyed uselessly," he said.

Cesar Henriquez wants lawmakers to reach a deal before December, when he expects to be deported.

"My message for the president is to stop deporting people and let everybody who has no criminal problems, let them go free," he said.

If he is forced to leave, Henriquez says he will spend the money needed to hire a "coyote," or smuggler, to get him back inside the U.S. so he can be reunited with this family.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: dwight from: dc
March 29, 2013 2:12 PM
"His crime was failing to report for deportation. "

Get your facts straight. His crime was entering the country without permission.


Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid