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Yesterday, we held a protest for three of our detained clients who face imminent removal. The story garnered significant press coverage on Telemundo’s “Al Rojo Vivo” and on New York Telemundo’s “Noticiero” program.

Why? Because none of the three immigrants who face removal have a criminal past and the families of these immigrants would be destroyed by the deportation of their loved ones.

ICE headquarters’ response to the press inquiry on behalf of our clients is a public admission by the Obama administration that destroying immigrant families is a priority:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) targets illegal aliens based on our stated immigration enforcement priorities. Werner Arreaga Garcia, Oscar Jimenez and Juan Marcelino are enforcement priorities for the agency.

“ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives, recent border crossers and repeat immigration law violators. The following three individuals fall into these priority categories:

*Garcia was ordered deported by a federal immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) July 8, 2002. ICE effectuated the removal July 22, 2002. Garcia returned to the United States unlawfully. Garcia, being a repeat immigration law violator, is a priority for removal by ICE.

*Jimenez is an immigration fugitive, a priority for removal by ICE. Jimenez was ordered removed from the United States by a federal immigration judge Sept. 20, 2005, and failed to comply with the order of the federal immigration judge.

*Marcelino is an immigration fugitive, a priority for removal by ICE. Marcelino was most recently encountered by ICE after being arrested on a felony criminal charge. Marcelino was granted voluntary departure, and was required to leave the United States by July 7, 2003. He failed to comply with the judge’s orders.

“Over the past four years, ICE has dramatically changed the way it conducts immigration enforcement. ICE implemented clear priorities, enhanced the use of prosecutorial discretion, and implemented a sustained focus on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and other priority individuals.”

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