Things That Matter

A US Marine And US Citizen Was Detained And Nearly Deported By ICE, Leaving Us All Wondering “Could I Be Next?”

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez is a US-born Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan. His latest run in with the police shows that no one is truly safe from Tump’s dangerous immigration policies.

In a report by Buzzfeed news, new details have emerged of his arrest last year. It’s truly shocking. When he was stopped by police in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jilmar had his US passport, a REAL ID driver’s license, a military ID card, and his US Marine Corps dog tags with him. He literally had all of his bases covered. Yet police still turned him over to ICE, which held him (a US citizen) for three days before his lawyer demanded his release.

Jilmar, a US citizen and war veteran, was detained for three days by ICE and nearly deported.

Credit: @BUDDJENN / Twitter

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was arrested by police in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Even though he had several documents proving his status as both a US citizen and a US Marine veteran, local police handed him over to ICE.

The local police had zero reason to believe that Jilmar was in the country without authorization. He provided the police with a US passport, a REAL ID, a US military ID card, and even his US Marine Corp dog tags. But that still wasn’t enough for local police or ICE for that matter.

Once in custody, ICE detained Jilmar for three days until his lawyer finally and successfully demanded his release.

The ACLU said that Jilmar’s possession of his passport, Real ID, and other items at the time of his arrest is detailed in a Grand Rapids police report.

The advocacy group has called for an investigation into how the Grand Rapids Police Department handled the arrest of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, who was born in Grand Rapids, served in Afghanistan and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The ACLU is also demanding that ICE explain why it took the veteran into custody and did not review his identification documents during the three days he was being held.

Many pointed out that even though he had all those forms of ID – it really didn’t matter because Jilmar is brown.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Jilmar’s case isn’t unique. There have been many cases around the country of brown people or people who speak Spanish being profiled by police and ICE agents. Few have reached the level of Jilmar’s – of being detained for three days – but it’s a reminder that even if you are in the US legally (as a citizen or resident) you may not be as safe as you think.

Many realized from this story that even if you’re a legal US citizen or resident there is zero safety.

Credit: @jbouie / Twitter

“I think it raises all sorts of questions,” said Miriam Aukerman, a senior attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, which has taken up the case. “Police had absolutely no reason to call ICE when they knew that Jilmar was a U.S. citizen. Yet they did so anyway. Why? One can’t imagine this happening to a white person who had his passport on him.”

One Twitter user even asked people if they’d actually be able to prove their identity if stopped by police right now…

Credit: @jbouie / Twitter

And the responses were less than positive. Many pointed out though that even if they had their legit original birth certificate, that in this environment, ICE or the police could just claim the documents were fake and still bring you into custody.

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ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

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ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

Long before taking office, President Biden vowed to undo many of the Trump administration’s most cruel and inhumane immigration policies within days of taking office. But despite several executive orders, Biden’s policies have met several roadblocks and swift changes in immigration policy have yet to arrive.

One major roadblock to ending deportations has been a federal judge that placed a hold on a Biden’s executive order and the other has been a “rogue agency” that’s continued several of Trump’s immigration policies.

Migrant rights advocates are calling ICE a “rogue agency” as it faces new allegations of abuse.

Although President Biden has outlined his immigration policy and installed his new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – which oversees ICE – the White House still does not have full control of ICE, which faces multiple allegations of human rights abuses and allegations that it has disproportionately targeted Black migrants.

The agency also continues to deport immigrants who don’t fit the categories approved for deportation by DHS – even those who had been taken off deportation flights just hours before.

Many deportees are claiming that ICE has stepped up its torture of detainees.

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Several migrant rights groups – Freedom for Immigrants, Al Otro Lado and Advocates for Immigrants Rights – published affidavits from Cameroonian asylum seekers who they said were tortured by being forced to approve their own deportations. The asylum seekers described being forced to the floor and having their fingers inked and pressed on to deportation documents they had refused to sign.

According to The Guardian, one Cameroonian asylum seeker described being brought into a room with darkened windows where he was forced by agents to put his fingerprint on a document in lieu of a signature, waiving his rights to further legal process before deportation.

“I tried to stand up because of the force that they were using on me, and they tripped me,” HT said. “I fell on the floor; I kept my hands under my body. I held my hands tight at waist level so they could not have them. Five of the Ice officers and one of the officers in green … joined them. They pressed me down and said that I needed to give them my finger for the fingerprint.”

One man was put on a flight to Haiti even though he’s not Haitian and had never been to that country.

And despite new directives from DHS and the Biden administration, ICE continues to carry out deportation flights containing people who fit none of the current criteria for deportation.

Just last week, Paul Pierrilus, a 40-year-old financial consultant from New York, who had never been to Haiti and is not a Haitian citizen, was taken off a deportation flight at the last moment after the intervention of his local congressman, Mondaire Jones. But just days later, ICE put him on another plane and sent him to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jones told the Guardian: “Ice is a rogue agency that must be brought to heel. There is no world in which an agency under the control of the leader of the executive branch should continue to deport people after the president of the United States signed an executive order halting deportations for 100 days.”

However, the Biden administration has also moved forward on its own with many deportations.

It’s true that a federal judge ordered the Biden administration not to enforce a 100-day pause on deportations, but the ruling did not require the government to schedule them. However, the administration has moved forward on deportations for hundreds of immigrants within the past two weeks.

It’s unclear how many of those people are considered national security or public safety threats or had recently crossed the border illegally, the priority under new guidance that DHS issued to enforcement agencies.

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The Number Of Migrant Kids Still Separated From Family Rises To 666 As The Search Continues To Find Missing Parents

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The Number Of Migrant Kids Still Separated From Family Rises To 666 As The Search Continues To Find Missing Parents

Despite widespread efforts by an international network of volunteers and lawyers, hundreds of kids remain separated from their parents as a result of Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Volunteers had been calling hundreds of phone numbers provided by the government and even had been going door to door in several Central American countries in an attempt to locate family members. However, much of that search has been put on hold thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, new information provided by the government indicates that the number of children missing their parents now stands at 666. A number that is growing as more evidence comes to light, despite the fact lawyers have successfully reunited many families.

Lawyers working to reunite children with their parents say that the number of cases is higher than previously thought.

Lawyers who have been working to reunite migrant families separated by Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the border now believe the number of separated children for whom they have not been able to find parents is 666, higher than they told a federal judge last month, according to an email obtained by NBC News.

Previously, the lawyers said they could not find the parents of 545 children after they had tried to make contact but had been unsuccessful. But in a new email, lawyers point out that the number is higher because the new group includes those “for whom the government did not provide any phone number.”

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, explained to NBC News that the new number “includes individuals in addition to 545 for whom we got no information from government that would allow meaningful searches but are hopeful the government will now provide with that information.”

However, the work to reunite families continues as a strong pace.

As the administration provided lawyers with additional phone numbers to aid the long-running search, the search continues.

Volunteers have searched for parents by phone and by going door-to-door across Central America, which has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee has also established toll-free numbers in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and mailed letters to 1,600 potential families.

According to the committee, it’s believed that the parents of 333 children are currently in the U.S., while parents of the other 295 are believed to be outside the country.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the parents and children are still separated, only that the committee has been unable to locate the parents. The committee has found other family members for 168 of the 628 children whose parents have yet to be located. So progress is being made, regardless of how slow it is.

The family separations were a result of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy pursued by the Trump administration.

Shortly after taking office, Trump made it clear that cruelty would be the focus of his immigration policy. And he quickly followed that promise up with actual policy, instituting a so-called ‘zero tolerance’ policy on the U.S.-Mexico border that led to migrant families being separated.

Prior to the borderwide “zero tolerance” policy, the Trump administration tested family separation in a pilot program in the El Paso sector. The vast majority of the children referenced in the email obtained by NBC News were separated during this pilot program, but the total also includes some children who were separated under zero tolerance.

More than 2,700 children were separated from their parents in June 2018 when U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego ordered an end to the practice under the “zero-tolerance” policy. He ordered them reunited within 30 days. And now here we are more than two years later.

Biden says that he is committed to reuniting all families separated under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

As president, Joe Biden has committed to reuniting families who were separated under Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy. However, Biden has so far not decided whether separated parents who remain outside the U.S. will be given the opportunity to come to the country to reunite with their children and pursue claims to asylum.

The ACLU wants Biden to allow separated families to return to the United States to be given some kind of legal status.

“We think that’s only fair given what they’ve been put through,” Lee Gelernt, attorney representing parents for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the AP. “We will find the families but we cannot provide the families with the right to return to the United States and give legal status. Only the administration can do that.”

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