Things That Matter

A Republican Representative Known To Crack Down On Undocumented Immigrants Stepped In To Stop This Man’s Deportation

A member of the House of Representatives with a history of supporting tough immigration policies recently saved a Guatemalan man from being deported.

Representative Duncan Hunter serves California’s 50th district, which includes San Diego’s East County, parts of Temecula and Escondido. Also included in his district is a town called Fallbrook, Calif., which is between Temecula and Escondido.

Rep. Hunter has been a pretty strong proponent of increasing border security through the Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act, a bill he authored that allows for 350 miles of “additional reinforced fencing” along the southwestern border, according to his website. He also supported appropriation bills from the Department of Homeland Security to fund 34,000 detention beds and 21,186 Customs and Border Patrol agents, and signed a letter to save the funding for the 287g program, which allows for local and state officers to join in partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain undocumented immigrants. Rep. Hunter also supports the deportation of U.S. born children with undocumented immigrant parents.

Yet, in late July, Rep. Hunter’s office intervened in the deportation of Mario Figueroa of Fallbrook, Calif.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Figueroa, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, was scheduled for deportation last week. Figueroa came to the U.S. when he was a child. His family was seeking asylum since they faced severe violence in Guatemala. The San Diego Union-Tribune also reported that Figueroa’s parents had been deported years ago. Figueroa says that he was stopped while riding in a friend’s car and was immediately asked about his immigration status.

“Elijah [the driver] and I believe it was racial profiling. First thing they asked was ‘are you guys citizens.’ Nothing else,” Figueroa tells mitú. “I got randomly stopped and detained by border patrol and as I was at the Murrieta Station [now known as the Theodore L. Newton, Jr. and George F. Azrak Station] they ran my prints and said I was a fugitive of ICE for supposedly skipping out on a judge or court.”

Figueroa, a 22-year-old husband and father of a young child, was in detention for ten days before he was released and spared the fate of deportation with the assistance of Rep. Hunter’s office. It’s unclear how Rep. Hunter became aware of the case, or why he stepped in to help Figueroa specifically.

Before being detained, Figueroa had applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and his application was pending. DACA is a program implemented by President Obama that allows for people brought to the U.S. as young children to receive work permits and are relegated to low-priority deportations.

“Whenever there’s a valid reason and opportunity to intervene or to accelerate a petition on behalf of constituents or families needing help, Rep. Hunter is always willing to do the legwork and make a case to officials,” Joe Kasper, Rep. Hunter’s spokesperson, told The San Diego Union-Tribune about the decision. “And that’s what happened in this instance. There was both reason and opportunity and we’re glad a decision was made.”

Mitú reached out to Rep. Hunter and his spokesperson for clarification about what compelled them to stop Figueroa’s deportation, but they did not respond. As reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune, Carlos Paz Martinez, a 25-year-old father of a young child with a pending application for DACA, was deported last month, which is the same situation as Figueroa. Paz Martinez is from El Cajon, which is partially represented by Rep. Hunter. There are no reports of Rep. Hunter attempting to aid Paz Martinez.

Figueroa says that he was unaware of Rep. Hunter’s involvement in getting him released until after he was free. He expressed gratitude for Rep. Hunter’s office stepping in to prevent his deportation.

“It feels good knowing there are people like him willing to help people like me who believed we were alone,” says Figueroa.

He believes that high ranking officials need to work to repair the nation’s immigration system. Figueroa also thinks that other people in his situation should see his story as proof that you can avoid deportation if you speak up.

“To the people who are in my situation or could be in the situation, I just want to say to them that they aren’t alone and they should speak out because you never know who can be listening,” Figueroa says. “I thought I was alone and look what happened. I got help from friends, family and even a congressman.”


READ: This Senator Live Tweeted His Desperate Attempt To Save A Mother And Child From A ‘Death Sentence’ Deportation

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Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

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Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 check from the federal government to make good on the $2,000 promise In the meantime, some Californians will get extra help from the state government. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $9.6 billion stimulus package for state residents and undocumented people.

Low-income Californians will be eligible for a $600 stimulus check from the state government.

Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers have agreed on a $9.6 billion relief package for the Golden State. The relief package is offering much needed relief to businesses, individuals, and students. The relief will come to Californians in different ways.

According to a statement, the package is making good on the promise to help low-income Californians, increase small business aid, and waive license renewal fees for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the package “provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.”

The relief package is aimed at helping those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

The package will quadruple the assistance to restaurants and small businesses in California. Small businesses and restaurants will be eligible for $25,000 in grants from a $2 billion fund.

Undocumented Californians will also receive a boost from the state government.

Low-income Californians will receive a one-time payment of $600 while undocumented people will be given a $600 boost. The money will be sent to tax-paying undocumented people in California.

According to the California Budget & Policy Center, undocumented people in California pay $3 billion a year in local and state taxes. Despite paying taxes, the undocumented community has not been ineligible for relief payments from the federal government. These payments will give needed relief to a community overlooked throughout the pandemic.

“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. This agreement builds on Governor Newsom’s proposal and in many ways, enhances it so that we can provide the kind of immediate emergency relief that families and small businesses desperately need right now,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said in a statement. “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors. We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Learn more about the relief package by clicking here.

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is Cuban-born and was one of the original architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Mayorkas is inheriting a Trump-era DHS and is immediately getting to work to rectify issues that the Biden administration has highlighted. Two of the most pressing issues are heading up a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by the previous administration and reviewing the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Remain in Mexico” is a policy that the Trump administration created and enforced that sent migrants to Mexico to await their asylum cases. The policy has been criticized both by U.S. and international politicians as a humanitarian issue.

It isn’t Mayorkas’ first time working for DHS.

Sec. Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of DHS from December 2013 – October 2016 under President Barack Obama. During that time, Mayorkas was crucial in responding to the 2013 – 14 Ebola virus epidemic and 2015 – 16 Zika virus epidemic. Mayorkas is ready to come back to the department and to bring back what he sees are the department’s mission.

“DHS bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people, the weight of grave challenges seen and unseen,” Sec. Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation. I will work every day to ensure that they have the tools they need to execute their missions with honor and integrity. The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”

Mayorkas is no stranger to working on America’s immigration system.

Mayorkas is one of the original architects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is at stake because of the previous administration. The Biden administration has made a promise to preserve DACA and to create a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

President Biden has introduced legislation to reform the current immigration system. The legislation has a timeframe for all undocumented people in the U.S. to become citizens if they follow certains steps and meet certain criteria.

While Mayorkas got bipartisan support in the Senate confirmation, some Republicans did not like his work in immigration. Sen. Marco Rubio, a fellow Cuban, voted to opposed Mayorkas.

“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.

READ: President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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