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In pursuit of deportation, ICE ignores rights of U.S. citizen children

The LA times published an interesting article yesterday titled: “Without a Country: Caught in the current of reverse migration.” 

The author describes the phenomena of U.S. citizen children being de facto deported to Mexico because of the deportations of their parents or guardians.

Ironically, the main character of this article, Luis Martinez,  had to illegally cross the border to gain entry into the United States, despite being a U.S. citizen.(It is still illegal for a U.S. citizen to enter the United States without inspection.)

The story of Luis Martinez and thousands of other U.S. citizen children who end up being de facto deported highlight ICE’s systemic attack on the rights of U.S. citizen children.

When ICE detains and deports individuals, it almost never, sua sponte, considers the rights of U.S. citizen children that may be affected by its actions. Often times, ICE does not even know whether a person whom they have detained even has U.S. citizen children.

ICE’s reckless approach to deportation causes thousands if not hundreds of thousands of innocent U.S. citizen children to be deprived of their rights as U.S. citizens. One can go on and on about how these children have the right to stay in the United States in foster care, or with other family members, but in a significant amount of cases, this is simply not an option.

The federal U.S. government should be legally required to consider the ramifications deportation will have on its own citizens. The world should not revolve around ICE’s deportation machine. The law ought not to by default consider deportation more important than its citizens’ rights.

The case of Mark Lyttle is also a stark example of this. Despite the obvious need for radical reform, the beat marches on. An excerpt of the article follows below: 

By Richard Marosi, Los Angeles TimesOctober 21, 2012

CUATRO MILPAS, MEXICO— In this hardscrabble farming village, an American teenager like Luis Martinez was bound to stand out.

Raised on Little Caesars pizzas and Big Gulps, Luis, 13, was portly. The village kids, subsisting on bowls of chicken broth, were all bones and elbows.

Luis wore Air Jordan high-tops. The kids wore sandals made of rubber tires.

PHOTOS: Teenager’s identity lies on both sides of the border

He shot at birds with his BB gun and pedaled around on a Mongoose bike. They scurried up mango trees and chased iguanas.

He seemed like many visitors from America, with new clothes and good health, and the quiet confidence of someone who knew he wouldn’t have to endure this place very long.

Then one day Luis and his step-grandfather, Juan Leyva, started standing up sheets of scrap metal on a treeless patch of dirt. They covered the jagged edges with cardboard, straightened the frame and slid corrugated metal sheets atop the walls, fastening it all together with electrical wire..

Read from from The Times series: Without a Country

richard.marosi@latimes.com

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