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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid