Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Citizen, So What...You're Out of Here!
"Nearly three months after U.S. immigration officials dumped Luis Alberto Delgado in Mexico despite his insistence that he is a U.S. citizen, the 19-year-old was permitted to re-enter the country last weekend with the U.S. government's blessing. Delgado said U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents cleared him to return to the United States on Friday, roughly 85 days after he was detained by immigration officials and pressured to sign papers that cleared the way for his removal to Mexico.
Steven Cribby, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, declined to comment on Delgado's case. [. . .]
U.S. Border Patrol agents detained Delgado after a traffic stop in South Texas on June 17 and held him for eight hours, questioning him about his citizenship. Delgado said he gave immigration agents a copy of his birth certificate showing he was born at Houston's Ben Taub Hospital, a state of Texas identification card and a Social Security card.
[Delgado is not a fluent English Speaker]
But Delgado, who was raised in Mexico after his parents divorced, said immigration agents were suspicious of him because he did not speak English well, and insisted the paperwork he carried belonged to someone else. Delgado said he eventually signed paperwork that resulted in his removal to Mexico because he wanted to be released from immigration custody, and thought he could fight his case from Houston.
'I believe (the agents) discriminated against me because I didn't speak English,' he said. 'If you don't speak very well, I think they just assume you're Mexican.'
[ . . . ]U.S. immigration officials have faced scrutiny in recent years over allegations that they have deported U.S. citizens, including a high-profile case of a mentally disabled Los Angeles man who was lost for months in Mexico in 2007. Estimates of the number of U.S. citizens deported from the U.S. vary widely, and such statistics are not officially tracked by U.S. immigration officials, who recently adopted guidelines designed to prevent such deportations.
Torres said the government should not tolerate discrimination against U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who do not speak English fluently.
[S]uch cases will become increasingly common because the U.S. government is deporting parents with U.S.-born children. Between 1998 and 2007, the United States removed 108,434 illegal immigrants with U.S. citizen children, according to a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report."
Want to know what's wrong with treating immigrants as less than a citizen? Here you go.
When I was growing up in and around the greater OurTown region, where many immigrants from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Puerto Rico, and Slovenia who did not speak fluent English, and often neither did their children "naturally" born in the United States.