After a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy left a Texas hospital for treatment in October 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested her, The Guardian reported.
The arrest happened because five days after Donald J. Trump took office, he signed an executive order that changed the focus of ICE deportations from undocumented immigrants with criminal records to every undocumented immigrant.
The result of the policy is that ICE is arresting more people with no criminal record than ever before, according to The Guardian.
In October 2017, the number of those arrested by ICE with no criminal record was almost 40,000. The year before then it was less than 20,000. As of June 30, 2018, it’s 58 percent of the now al- most 45,000 people held by ICE, The Guardian reports.
“Why would you take that budget that’s limited and not use it to say we’re going to go after the worst people who are illegal and here?” said Alonzo Peña, former ICE deputy director, and its predecessor, the U.S. Customs Service, since 1984.
Peña raised a question, “The target goal (for ICE to arrest) is the 12 million people who are here illegally. Why are you going to target a little girl with cerebral palsy?
“Most of the 20,000 ICE employees oppose some of Trumps immigration policies, such as family separation.”
Another undocumented immigrant arrested by ICE was New York City resident Pablo Villavicencio, a father of two who worked as a pizza delivery man.
Villavicencio had applied for a green card but when he went to deliver a lunch order to an Army base, ICE arrested him. The case was fast-tracked for deportation but dropped after it received media attention, The Guardian reported.
“The idea is to try to send the message to communities that everybody is at risk of deportation by arresting all sorts of people who are no kind of threat,”said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Right Project.
The ICE tactics have made it a target by lawyers, said The Guardian.
“What they would like to do is deport people and skip the whole legal process right,” said ACLU’s Jadwat. “That was the idea initially behind this and I think their legal position is still they can sweep these people up and put them on a plane and they’re gone before you know it.
“It’s only because we and other lawyers have stepped up and said you have to provide some due process before you ship someone to a place where their lives could be in danger that they haven’t been able to kind of send people abroad immediately.”
A lawsuit was also filed on behalf of 1,900 Cambodian refugees by the Asian Law Caucus, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles (AAJC) and Sidney Austin LLP.