Old Crime Returns to Haunt Legal Immigrants

12 08 2008

I Have read about a few cases were legal immigrants that committed a “crime” are being deported 10, 20, 30, and 40 years later due to a new law. Here are a few examples; the first is from the New York Times:

Old Crime Returns to Haunt an Immigrant; Facing Deportation, Dominican May Become Test Case for New Law

For 171 days now, immigration officials have held Jesus Collado, a Bronx restaurant manager and a legal resident of the United States, in a detention center in Pennsylvania for a misdemeanor he committed 23 years ago and for which, until now, he had never spent a day in jail.

Mr. Collado was convicted of statutory rape and given probation in 1974 because, at 19, he had sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend. Now, the Immigration and Naturalization Service wants to deport Mr. Collado to his homeland, the Dominican Republic, which he left in 1972 and has only returned to for occasional family visits.

Mr. Collado, his wife and their three children, and even the family of his onetime girlfriend, are baffled and horrified that his long-ago misdeed — a crime of moral turpitude, in legal terms — could tear apart the life that he has built in this country. The I.N.S. says that under tougher laws passed by Congress last year, the agency has no choice but Read the rest of this entry »


Illegal Immigration – Mexico’s double talk – Do as I say, not as I do?

23 05 2008
The bulk of illegal immigration into the US comes from Mexico, that is a fact. Some of the illegal immigrants come from Europe, Asia, Africa and Central and South America. Some of the ones that come from Central America come through Mexico. But what happens to those Illegal immigrants while on route to the US?
It is surprising to most to find out that even thought Mexico demands dignity and human rights for its citizens in the US regardless of the their legal status, the Mexican government does very little to preserve the human rights of illegal foreign nationals in their country and they admit that there is abuse. When these illegal immigrants pass through Mexico in their way to the United States, they are often robbed, extorted, raped, and in general mistreated by many people and that includes the police.
Well now they seem to be doing something about it. The Mexican Congress voted earlier this month to remove the criminal penalties for undocumented migrants found in the country. This measure passed unanimously in the lower house a day after the Senate approved it. It is still pending the president’s signature.
Current law lays out punishments of 1 1/2 to six years, while the new measure makes undocumented immigration a minor offense punishable by fines equivalent to about $475 to $2,400.
Some Mexican officials acknowledged that the current harsh penalties weakened Mexico’s position in arguing for better treatment of its own migrants in the United States.
Congresswoman Irma Pineiro of the small New Alliance Party said Mexico has a moral duty to protect migrants.
“Mexico is politically and morally obligated to treat migrants with dignity and to make a commitment to human rights, as a country that both exports and receives migrants,” she said.
Lets hope that things change and they start practicing what they preach.


Why are we deporting widows of American Citizens?

12 03 2008

Our current immigration law states that the alien spouse of a US citizen should be deported if their marriage does not last past two years.  This a period in which the alien’s residency is called temporary or conditional. This law was intended to prevent fake marriages where a non-citizen would marry a U.S. citizen to quickly gain legal residency and then just get a quicky divorce. After the two years the Alien has to apply for permanent residency.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, USCIS, states that they are required to deport aliens whose spouse dies within two years of being married. Because of this, women and men who entered this country legally are facing deportation when their spouses die during the sometimes seemingly endless administrative visa process. There are over one hundred cases across the country affecting women, mothers and children. 

In some of these cases the spouse died while serving the country. Now the widows not only have to endure the loss of their spouse, but the loss of their home and security. Cases like:

Dahianna Heard, the widow of Jeffrey Heard, killed in March 2006 when the Army soldier was shot in the head by insurgents while delivering equipment to U.S. troops in Iraq. Dahianna Heard, a citizen of Venezuela who lives in Florida, now could be deported even though she and her husband had applied for her residency permit and were awaiting completion of the paperwork. They also had a son who is a U.S. citizen but faces an uncertain future if his mother is deported.

Todd Engstrom was later killed in Iraq when an RPG hit the convoy in which he was riding, while he was helping the U.S. Army train Iraqi soldiers. Now his wife Diana if facing deportation.

Surviving Spouses Against Deportation

Honoring the fallen, but not their widows

There has been a law suit filed to prevent this from happening.

I cannot imagine how I would have felt if this had happened to me. I have been fortunate enough to pass all of the leagal hurdles of the immigration process all the way, to become a US Citizen, I will explain the process in a later post.

It is hard to move to a new country, it is a big adjustment. And after you make this new place a home, the old country is not home anymore. I can’t imagine loosing my husband and then my home.