BBC News

Tales of deportation in Trump's America: Week Two

By Katie Shepherd
BBC News, Washington

image copyrightMigrant Justice
image captionA rally for two young people detained by immigration officials in Vermont

The Trump Administration's immigration enforcement priorities have revived deportation orders ignored during the Obama Administration.

On Monday, Mr Trump criticized local law enforcement agencies for refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) to detain and deport people living in the US illegally.

The administration started publishing a weekly "Declined Detainer Outcome Report", which calls out local agencies that ignored orders to detain undocumented immigrants arrested for unrelated crimes. The report names the immigrants in question and lists "crimes associated with those released individuals."

Despite promising to focus on violent criminals and gang members, President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration and his executive memo to the Department of Homeland Security empowers Ice to deport virtually anyone living in the US without documentation.

Only one clear exception exists, for people with active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) status.

Here's a look at some of the most recent immigration cases across the US.

image captionBeristain, in blue, has been in the us for 19 years

Roberto Beristain, 43

Detained: 6 February, from Granger, Indiana

In 1998, Mr Beristain came to the US to visit an aunt and decided to stay.

In 2000, he and his wife, a naturalised US citizen originally from Greece, accidentally crossed the Canadian border while sightseeing at Niagara Falls. When they crossed back into the US, border patrol agents detained Mr Beristain.

A judge initially issued an order mandating that Mr Beristain voluntarily return to Mexico. When Beristain declined to leave, the order reverted to a final order.

Instead Mr Beristain's lawyer convinced Ice agents to grant him leniency due to his family ties in the US and lack of criminal records.

The agents helped Mr Beristain obtain a driver's licence, a work permit and a legal Social Security Number, and Mr Beristain went to work in the restaurant business. He is now co-owner of Eddie's Steak Shed in Granger, Indiana.

Mr Beristain had to check in with Ice agents every year. This February, agents at the Indianapolis Ice office took him into custody.

"Trump says we're deporting bad hombres. Roberto is the farthest thing from a bad guy," said Jason Flora, who served as Mr Beristain's attorney until Saturday. "You ask 100 people to paint a picture of a bad guy, not one would draw something remotely resembling Roberto."

His wife supported Mr Trump because of his immigration programmes, and thought her husband - a businessman and father - would be spared.

"We don't want to have cartels here, you don't want to have drugs in your high schools, you don't want killers next to you," Helen Beristain told Indiana Public Media earlier this year.

"You want to feel safe when you leave your house. I truly believe that. And this is why I voted for Mr Trump."

Because of the deportation order from 2000, Mr Beristain could be deported as early as Friday without a hearing before an immigration court.

Henry Sanchez-Milian, 18

Arrested: 17 March, in Rockville, Maryland

image copyrightMontgomery County Police

Police arrested Henry Sanchez-Milian and another undocumented teenager, Jose O Montano, 17, on charges of sexual assault after they allegedly trapped a fellow Rockville High School student in a school bathroom and raped her.

Mr Montano is being charged as an adult.

Mr Sanchez-Milian has lived in the US for only eight months, after fleeing Guatemala. He had been awaiting a hearing with an immigration judge.

Because he is considered a serious flight risk, he will likely remain in jail until a he's brought before a criminal court, said Montgomery County Assistant States Attorney Rebecca MacVittie.

When an undocumented individual is convicted of a serious crime, standard procedure is to allow them to serve their prison sentence in the US and then transfer them to Ice custody to initiate the deportation process.

It is unclear whether Mr Sanchez-Milian will be deported before a trial. Ice has issued an order for local law enforcement to keep him in custody.

The case has been referenced by members of Mr Trump's administration as reason for Mr Trump's "crackdown" on immigration.

Gerardo Martinez-Morales, 52

Deported: 17 March, 2017, from Galveston, Texas

image copyrightMartinez-Morales family

Earlier this month, Mr Martinez-Morales was pulled over for a broken tail light, at which point officers identified him as an undocumented immigrant.

He had lived in the US for nearly 20 years. He married a US citizen and has four American-born children under the age of 12.

In 2004, Mr Martinez-Morales returned to Mexico to see family. Upon his return, he was arrested for crossing illegally at the Texas border, which set in motion his deportation order. Mr Martinez-Morales returned to the Houston area, and lived there without incident until this month.

The Obama Administration's immigration priorities that allowed people living in the US illegally with no criminal record to stay in the US, even if they had a deportation order that predated 1 January 2014. Under the Trump administration, individual with a deportation order is a priority for removal.

"There has been a total change with this new administration," says Raed Gonzalez, Mr Martinze-Morales' attorney. "This is a sharp shift in policy."

Mr Martinez-Morales was deported one week after his detention.

Cesar Carrillo, 23, Enrique Balcazar, 24,Zully Palacios Rodriguez, 23

Detained:15 March and 17 March, in Burlington, Vermont

image copyrightMigrant Justice
image captionZully Palacios and Enrique Balcazar

Mr Carrillo, Mr Balcazar and Ms Rodriguez are activists who belong to a Vermont-based immigration rights advocacy group called Migrant Justice.

Ice agents arrested Mr Carrillo-Sanchez on Wednesday, as he was arriving to a court hearing for a misdemeanour charge at the Chittenden County courthouse.

Two days later, Ice officials stopped a car that Mr Balcazar was driving, with Ms Rodriguez in the passenger seat, as they were leaving the Migrant Justice office. Both were detained by immigration officials, according to the organisation.

image copyrightMJ
image captionAlex Carrillo (left) with daughter and wife at a rally to free Victor Diazz

Members of Migrant Justice said that they view their detention as a sign that immigration officials are targeting activists and community leaders.

Migrant Justice members have had run-ins with Ice in the past. Two other members, Victor Diaz and Miguel Alcudia, were detained last year, but were both released and had their deportation proceedings halted after public outcry.

Mr Carrillo-Sanchez and Mr Balcazar both immigrated to the US from Mexico. Ms Rodriguez is from Peru.

Aaron Sarmiento-Sanchez, 35

image copyrightCBP

Arrested: 17 March near Sells, Arizona

Border Patrol agents from the Casa Grande Station in Arizona arrested Aaron Sarmiento-Sanchez for entering the US illegally.

He had previously been deported in April 2013.

When officers ran a background check on Mr Sarmiento-Sanchez, they found a 2006 conviction in Salinas, California, for "lewd or lascivious acts with a child". Mr Sarmiento-Sanchez was sentenced to six years in prison for that crime.

Mr Sarmiento-Sanchez faces federal charges for re-entering the country illegally and will remain in detention until a judge rules on those criminal charges.

Related Topics

  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Vermont
  • US immigration
  • Donald Trump
  • Texas
  • Deportation
  • Arizona