ICE Has No Boundaries: People Detained While Applying For Green Cards

Undocumented immigrants are trapped in a “catch-22” in which they could be arrested by immigration officials even as they’re seeking legal status.

People participate in a protest against U.S....

If there was ever any question about how out of control the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation raids have gotten, their latest antics will surely answer it.

Five undocumented immigrants were arrested in Lawrence, Massachusetts, this week while arriving to scheduled appointments with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. At least three of them were in the beginning stages of applying for legal permanent residency in the United States, WBUR reports.

ICE officials detained them, even though they were working toward obtaining legal status. Brian Doyle, an attorney for a Brazilian national who was one of the people arrested, said that his client was aware of the possibility that she could be detained, but she took the risk in hopes of being able to soon legally continue living in the U.S. with her husband and children.

“Now, they’re in a sort of catch-22 where, ‘All right, I’m being called in for this interview. I want to have this first step approved.’ If they don’t show up, it’s what’s called abandoned… USCIS just sort of assumes that they don’t want to go forward with it,” Doyle explained. “But now, if they do show up, trying to take that first step and they’re detained, it can lead to them being removed.”

Although ICE has the authority to carry out this cruel tactic, it’s something that they’ve typically steered away from as it discourages undocumented immigrants from obtaining legal status to remain in the country.

How can you criticize immigrants for being “illegal” when you’re punishing them for taking action to become legal? It’s a completely backward and hypocritical concept.

Alas, in President Donald Trump’s America, it has become abundantly clear that his deportation raids and travel bans are neither about legal or illegal status nor about national security, but rather racist strategies to prevent people of color from assimilating to U.S. culture and pursuing a better life for themselves. 

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson

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