Jesus Berrones came to the United States without documentation when he was a 1-year-old child. Now, thirty years later, Berrones if fighting to block his third deportation after immigration officials denied his his latest attempt to stay, according to CBS This Morning. Berrones is the sole provider for his family of five, one of which is his 5-year-old son who is suffering with leukemia.
Berrones has sought refuge at a Phoenix church. Rev. Ken Heintzelman allowed for Berrones to seek sanctuary in at the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ on Friday.
Berrones is supposed to be deported today but is fighting to stay for his 5-year-old son battling cancer.
Jesus Berrones was brought into the country illegally as a toddler in 1989.
According to CBS News, the leukemia treatments for the 5-year-old are too toxic for his pregnant wife to handle. “I will fight to stay here,” Berrones told CBS This Morning. “My wife cannot give him the pills because she’s pregnant.”
According to Huffington Post, Berrones was deported to Mexico when he was 19 after being arrested for driving with a fake license. Berrones re-entered the country twice in 2006 and 2010 to be with his family.
Sonia Berrones, Jesus’s wife, is a U.S. citizen. She wrote on her Facebook that she’s been getting disturbing and offensive comments regarding her husband and their current situation with immigration officials.
She told Huffington Post that her husband is “a hard-working man,” and added, “We’re scared. The kids will ask me: ‘Where’s Daddy?'”
Huffington Post also reports that Jesus sought a stay of removal in 2016 in order to care for his sick son. Immigration officials said he didn’t need one because he wasn’t a priority of deportation, but all of that changed under President Trump. Jesus was notified this year that he was scheduled to be deported.
ICE is currently reviewing his case and Jesus is planning to stay at the church until they come to a legal resolution.
While the US Supreme Court’s conservative-majority justices are seemingly ready to allow Trump to rescind Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Justice Sonia Sotomayor clearly stated her opinion that the court’s decision, “is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.” The 2012 policy shields immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children without documentation, from deportation and allows them to work for up to two years at a time. Research shows that DACA has reduced the number of undocumented immigrants living in poverty, and has improved mental health status for DACA participants and their children. The Trump administration rescinded DACA protections for nearly 700,000 recipients in 2017.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to end DACA and is expected to deliver a decision by Spring 2020.
Two memos lie at the heart of the decision.
The first memo was begrudgingly given by then Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine C. Duke. Duke’s volunteer history included offering legal aid to immigrants. During a White House meeting with Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, she was pressured to issue a memo that would end DACA. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Duke that DACA was illegal, on the grounds of it exceeding presidential power. Duke issued a bare-bones memo that offered no policy reason for the end of DACA, except that it was unlawful. She later resigned.
Her replacement, Kirstjen Nielsen, retroactively justified the decision with a second memo, which included a new reason to end DACA: to project a message of consistency of enforcement of all immigration laws.
Now, US solicitor general Noel Francisco is arguing that Obama’s decision to introduce DACA exceeded presidential power.
“Basic administrative law is you look at what’s first given to you,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Francisco, not “what you add later.” Still, she said that even if “you ignore that and even look at the Nielsen memo, I think my colleagues have rightly pointed there’s a whole lot of reliance interests that weren’t looked at.” What’s crucial to this decision, according to Sotomayor, is that President Trump had told “DACA-eligible people that they were safe under him and that he would find a way to keep them here. And so he hasn’t and, instead, he’s done this.”
In 2017, Trump tweeted, in reference to DACA recipients, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?”
Trump tweeted Tuesday that DACA recipients are “far from angels.”
“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,'” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!”
A major requirement for DACA recipients is that they have no criminal record. “Trump is fear-mongering and falsely accusing people of color,” Dr. Eugene Gu tweeted. “Many DACA recipients are doctors, lawyers, professors, scientists, teachers, and integral members of society. Many have never set foot in their original countries for their whole lives and speak mainly English. Threatening to deport them through racist fear-mongering is evil.”
The events leading up to the memo led Sotomayor to believe “that this is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.”
Trump’s promise to protect DACA recipients during his campaign and his about-face is “something to be considered before you rescind a policy. Not just say I’ll give you six months to do it – to destroy your lives.” At the end of the day, Sotomayor is pointing out that Francisco’s argument is not evident in the memos. “Where is all of this in the memo? Where is all of this really considered and weighed? And where is the political decision made clearly,” she asked. Sotomayor concluded, “that this is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.”
Sotomayor also argued that DACA simply allows law enforcement agencies to prioritize its use of its limited resources.
“I have always had some difficulty in understanding the illegality of DACA,” Sotomayor offered her opinion. “We all know [ICE] has limited resources. It can’t, even when it wants to remove the vast majority of aliens we have here. And so I’ve always had some difficulty in understanding what’s wrong with an agency saying, we’re going to prioritize our removals, and for those people, like the DACA people who haven’t committed crimes, who are lawfully employed, who are paying taxes, who pose no threat to our security, and there’s a whole list of prerequisites, we’re not going to exercise our limited resources to try to get rid of those people. I — I still have an impossible time.”
Oh, and Sotomayor was interrupted numerous times by Francisco and her male peers.
A 2017 Northwestern Pritzker School of Law study found that male justices interrupt female justices three times as often as each other during oral arguments. The study also found that conservative justices were twice as likely to interrupt liberal justices than liberal justices were to interrupt their conservative peers. According to Supreme Court transcripts, Justice Sotomayor was interrupted by Justice Neil Gorsuch. The two both awkwardly apologized to each other when Sotomayor graciously told Gorsuch, “No, no, continue.”
When Justice Sotomayor was in the middle of her arguments, General Francisco interrupted her, saying, “So I guess I have three responses, Your Honor.” Sotomayor bluntly said, “All right. But let me just finish my question.” Francisco casually said, “Oh, sure,” to which Sotomayor incredulously asked, “Okay?” “Yeah,” Francisco responded to the Justice.
A decision is expected to be made public by Spring 2020.
For all the horrible stories we read about immigration policies in the Trump era, which has revealed perhaps the worst of some people, we sometimes get acquainted with the good deeds of unsung heroes who risk their safety and even engage in legal battles to help others. Such is the case of an 37-year-old Arizonan man who is going on trial for the second time due to his volunteer work for an organization that helps migrants in need. Learn his name: Scott Warren. He could be seen as a true hero even if the authorities seem to disagree.
So who is Scott Warren?
This activist works with the organization No More Deaths, which provides basic survival needs to migrants who cross the US-Mexico border with an undocumented status. He hails from the small Arizonan town of Ajo, a mere 40 miles from the border. The group’s activities include dropping water in the desert to prevent severe dehydration (and possible death) among undocumented migrants. They also run a camp to help injured migrants, a building known as “The Barn”.
Warren and the organization basically help in preventing horrible deaths in the desert. Is caring for fellow human beings a crime now? It is important to stress out the gravity of the situation: thousands of migrants have died since the 1990s trying to cross the border into the Arizonan desert, a fierce landscape where even a small injury, let’s say a sprained ankle, can mean imminent death.
The first trial ended in a mistrial last June when the jury was deadlocked.
So this is the second time that Warren will face a judge and jury. Back in June he was arrested for giving migrants water. He has said that he was just aiding two men who were trying to cross the border. Records show that an anonymous call alerted the authorities about No More Death’s activities. The authorities closed in on the organization and in January 2018 Warren was arrested on two harbouring felony charges. Alongside him, two male Central American migrants were arrested and then deported. Warren insisted that they were in distress and was merely saving their lives.
The prosecutors argue that they were not under an imminent threat to their lives, and therefore Warren was conspiring with the undocumented men. And here his troubles began. Prosecutors also said that the conspiracy was effectuated when Warren allegedly gave the men directions on how to avoid a border patrol checkpoint after they left “The Barn”.
Now the second trial has started and prosecutors are requesting some pretty outlandish things… like not naming Trump!
The prosecutors are well aware of how politicized this trial has become, and are presenting the judge with some pretty over-the-top requests. Chief among them: they want to forbid Warren and the defense from mentioning Donald J. Trump and his administration. The reason behind this: Warren and is group have expressed that, under the Trump government, humanitarian border groups have become increasingly targeted by the authorities. The prosecutor insists that any mention of Trump would trigger prejudice and affect the outcome. The judge ruled Tuesday on the request and said he won’t allow the defense to inject politics (ie. Trump’s name) into the case.
As reported by The Guardian: “Warren’s defense attorneys have said that the government’s request would violate Warren’s rights and that the prosecution has not shown in what way it would suffer if the president were mentioned”.
As ABC 15 Arizona reports: “Greg Kuykendall, Warren’s attorney, said Trump is responsible for the prosecution of his client, and contended the Republican president should be mentioned ‘as frequently and repeatedly as anyone wants.”
So Trump is now a Voldemort case then? He shall not be named…
Do the authorities want to make an example of Scott Warren? This case could set legal and ethical precedents for future trials.
Warren is not the first member of No More Deaths to be arrested, but he is the only one who has been presented with felony charges. In fact, other members have been accussed of vandalism (allegedly interfering with security cameras even). In the first trial, Defense Attorney Greg Kuyendall presented his counter in the closing arguments: “Everything in this case points to the fact that Scott Warren never committed a crime. Scott’s whole life is about preventing suffering, healing suffering, and providing humanitarian aid”.
This case goes beyond Scott Warren and it is important because it can set a legal precedent in which other cases concerning humanitarian aid could be based. This case presents both ethical and legal issues that are complex and very politically charged in a day and age in which more help is needed than ever, and immigration issues are the cornerstone of political platforms on both sides of the aisle.
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