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.
    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.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.