News / USA

US Illegal Immigrants, Mass Deportations Face New Scrutiny

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office jail officers, who lost their federal power to check whether inmates are in the county illegally, give Sheriff Joe Arpaio a standing ovation after they turned in their credentials when federal officials pulled the Sheriff'
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office jail officers, who lost their federal power to check whether inmates are in the county illegally, give Sheriff Joe Arpaio a standing ovation after they turned in their credentials when federal officials pulled the Sheriff'
Nico Colombant

The U.S. government is currently reviewing orders to deport thousands of illegal immigrants in two cities, at a time of great division on the issue at federal and local levels. In the past fiscal year, a record 396,000 undocumented immigrants were deported from the United States, with more than 300,000 cases still pending.

The port city of Baltimore, Maryland, also known by its nickname “Charm City,” is one of the cities where U.S. federal immigration authorities are trying out new ways in dealing with a large caseload of deportation orders.

The other city is high-altitude Denver, Colorado.

Divergent views

In both places, illegal immigrants without violent criminal records may be allowed to stay, while cases against illegal immigrants deemed to have serious criminal records may be expedited.

One politician not happy at all with the experiment, which runs until the middle of January, is Maryland House of Delegates Republican Pat McDonough.

He recently wrote a newspaper opinion piece saying Baltimore was being turned into what he calls an “amnesty city.”

“What this does is it creates a magnet and incentive for people who are in this country without lawful presence to flock to Baltimore. And there are consequences to that,” said McDonough.

Economic issues cited


McDonough says consequences include added costs to provide bilingual services, added pressures on emergency rooms to deal with uninsured illegal immigrants, higher unemployment among legal residents, and threats to public safety.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it was not conducting interviews on the immigration case review.

In an email statement, it said the U.S. government is trying to focus immigration enforcement resources on those convicted of crimes, recent border crossers and what it called egregious immigration law violators.

Pro-immigrant activists have complained too many non-violent illegal immigrants are being deported, in a rush by the agency to boost statistics and receive more funding.

Review and considerations

Mary Giovagnoli, the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center director, calls the current two-city review a small step in the right direction.  

“Truly moving on is really messy, and like any major social issue you do not resolve it right away. In that sense, it is not unlike the civil rights movement or the voting rights movement or any other number of issues that took years and years to really resolve and get right because you are both changing the laws, and you are changing hearts and minds,” said Giovagnoli.

The review comes at a time when lawmakers in more and more U.S. states are passing tough anti-immigration laws.

But the federal government is pushing back on that front as well, using challenges in the court system and saying it has exclusive authority to regulate immigration.

There also have been protests by those favoring fewer deportations. In some states like Alabama, civil rights leaders recently marched for families to be kept together, as in recent months, detained or deported illegal immigrant parents were separated from their U.S.-born citizen children.

Activists in other cities, like Iowa City, are going even further, seeking to make the college town Iowa’s first so-called sanctuary city to protect illegal immigrants from federal immigration law.

More than 30 cities in the United States have gone this route, with some even banning officials from asking people about their immigration status. Activists say it saves the city money while also creating a stronger sense of community - claims staunch opponents to illegal immigration find outrageous.



You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs