I have been trying to explain to Donald Trump supporters why the Trump politics of anti-immigration and The Wall rhetoric are dangerous not only to immigrants, like me, but to Americans as well. The anti-immigrant rhetoric is more of an anti-brown people politics. Here are the facts as to why I strongly believe this.
Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a United States citizen was detained by Grand Rapids police on a trespassing charge on November 21, 2018. After pleading guilty to the trespassing charge, the judge ordered him released on December 14. Although he had a valid U.S. passport on him – he was born in Michigan – when he was arrested, a police officer decided to refer him to ICE.
Immigration officers picked him up at the jail. They held him as a non-citizen until December 17. The only reason he was released so quickly was because his mother contacted an immigration attorney who already had the proof of Ramos-Gomez’ citizenship on hand to provide to immigration officials.
Without his mom’s contacting the immigration attorney and without the attorney already possessing his birth certificate and social security card, who knows how long it would have taken for ICE to release him, if they hadn’t already deported him by then.
It is important to note that the attorney had his paperwork readily available because he had previously helped his mom with an immigration issue. The military veteran is an American citizen by birth.
The little dirty secret of the immigration process is that there is no right to an attorney nor the right to see a magistrate to ensure that the government has the right to charge the alleged crime. Most immigration violations are charged civilly but carry with them the penalty of detainment and deportation.
He is not the first United States citizen arrested by ICE on the basis that they are in the country illegally. There is even at least one case of a U.S. citizen being deported, even after claiming citizenship. Many of you know about the two ladies detained by Border Patrol for speaking Spanish. Both are citizens.
If this can happen to a United States military veteran, and more important a United States citizen in possession of a U.S. passport, imagine what can happen to me, a legal immigrant living in America.
The Wall and the anti-immigrant politics has nothing to do with border or national security and everything to do with keeping brown people from assuming too much political control in America.