New Human Rights Watch Report: Deportation Devastating Families

 Just two days before the InterAmerican Commission will be hearing a case of two non-citizens against the US government for violations of their rights, the Human Rights Watch has issued a new report that can be used as a tool in your future meetings with legislators, local communities and your allies to once again drive the point home: Deportation is Devastating Families.

The Human Rights Watch Report is a great new tool showing that the US is far behind on human rights from other countries that welcome large numbers of immigrants. The US is not in compliance with UN Refugee Conventions, and it continues to censor information on our deportation programs. Despite numerous requests for open information the government continues to hide the human rights abuses of our systems.

We highly suggest you check out the report, use it in your actions and share the resource with others!

 Executive Summary in Spanish

Audio interviews with families

Report: Deportation Devastating Families
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer

An estimated 1.6 million children and spouses have been separated from family members forced to leave the country under toughened 1996 immigration laws, a human rights group said Wednesday.

The separations have taken a toll on families who have sold homes, lost jobs, lost businesses or been thrown into financial turmoil, Human Rights Watch said in a new report.

The widespread impact on American families has been truly devastating, said Alison Parker, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.

In 1996, Congress toughened immigration laws making immigrants, legal and illegal, deportable according to an expanded list of “aggravated felonies.”

Congress made the law retroactive even to those who had served their sentences, and also eliminated hearings in which judges could consider an immigrant’s family, community roots, military service or possible persecution in his or her native country.

Since this law was passed, 672,593 immigrants have been deported for crimes, according to statistics cited in the report from Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Homeland Security Department. Human Rights Watch used those numbers and Census data on foreign-born households to estimate how many family members were left behind in the U.S.

According to statistics from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE), 64.6 percent of immigrants deported in 2005 had been convicted of nonviolent offenses. An additional 20.9 percent were deported for crimes involving violence against people, and 14.7 percent were deported for “other” crimes.

ICE has not released similar statistics for previous years.

“How do you explain to a child that her father has been sent thousands of miles away and can never come home simply because he forged a check?” Parker said.

The statistics don’t show the full picture, said Kelly Nantel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. “A non-violent offense like drugs can contribute to violence of society.”

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement immigrants who violate the law forfeit their right to be in the U.S.

Steve Camorata, Center for Immigration Studies research director, said family members can leave with the deported immigrants. “Children constantly bear the consequences of their parents’ poor decisions,” he added.

Chiara, who did not want her last name used, said she and her two children tried to live where her husband was deported on a six-year-old misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. He served three days.

“We became homeless for quite a while. I was out of work when they deported him because I needed back surgery,” said Chiara, who is a waitress.

Two immigrants ordered deported, Wayne Smith and Hugo Armendariz, have filed a complaint against the U.S. government with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. A hearing is scheduled Friday.

The commission enforces human rights treaties that apply in the Americas.

5 responses to “New Human Rights Watch Report: Deportation Devastating Families

  1. Kristen Arriaga

    My husband is facing deportation on August 26, 2008. We have been married for four years. We have a four year old son. We have another baby due this September and I’m afraid he will not be here to meet his new son. I and my children are citizens of the U.S. and I want to know why that doesn’t mean something to the government. I want my husband to be legal here but the laws are so confusing and constantly changing. Do we all have to suffer because he’s not legal? He is still a human being and I’m sure God is very disappointed in how people are being judged.

  2. He may apply for re-adjustment os status if you guys are merry (husband).

  3. ilker sunguroglu

    Hı my name ıs ılker from turkey..ı came to usa ın 1999 wıth a seaman vısa after ı worked on cruıse shıp 3 years move to the usa and got marrıed ın 2004..after 2 year ı and my wıfe apply for legal status for me because my wıfe is already a us cıtızen..whıle my case was ın prosedurs we had a baby aleyna ın day my lawyer called us and told us that ı had to come back to my own country turkey to get my vısa, but usa was my country too..after long tıme beıng ın us ı was feelıng that and havıng a famıly ın us made me the same way as us cıtızen.. besıde not havıng my papers.the us ımmırgratıon want me go back to my country and get my vısa from us consolate in turkey ..also befor that they ask my wıfe that she has to make enough money to support me ın us when ı get back to us after ı get my vısa but andthen they told us that my wıfe can handle her self and baby as financially…what????? we waıvered , affıdavıt we followed anythınk that they wanted from us and ı dont have any crımınal record ın my all lıfe no crıme and dıdnt come to usa ıllıgely just stayed over vısa maybe ıt should be but we dıdnt deserve to punısh thıs way by the guvermant of unıted states . ı am stıll ın turkey sınce 2007 and dont know when ı wıll come back to us to be wıth my famıly. also when ı was ın us my wıfe had 2 busıneses at the mall and plus her job at labcorb but now she had to close that busıneses, we where planıng to buy a house ı am glad that we dı she ıs goıng to sale even her car and buy a cheap one credıt card are ın deep and now she moved to her grandmoms house whıch 50 mıles away from her job and she ıs goıng to lose her job too very soon, you can ımmagıne how ımportand to keep famılys togetter after all these happenedto us only ,what about her educatıon master what about our motıon what about our baby, ıs that really sımple to do thıs by any guvermant and who ever brought thıs law they dont have famıly no kıds? even the god gıves 3 chances to people and we dont even have second chance ..ı tryed to brıng them to turkey but ı couldnt fınd a good job for her and ı dont make enough money rıght now to have a good lıfe here (no other turkısh eather) economy ıs very bad rıght now.. ı really dont now what to do just waıtıng for us goverment ı thınk, or what ever the condıntıons be ı wıll brıng them here or what else ı can do? thank you

  4. I was married on August 24, 2001. My husband is from Lebanon. He entered this country in 1997 illegally. We hired a lawyer and filed his papers. He was denied and jailed. In 2003 we left with our 2 children to Lebanon. He could not find work in Lebanon to support us and his family is very unaccepting of me. So he went to work in Nigeria. I returned to the US with our kids. I hired another attorney and was told since my husband left on his own we could file a 601 application and he could re-enter. I spent 1000’s of dollars and have not gotten a single result. I have moved to Nigeria and back. I also spent 2 years in Lebanon. I lost everything I’ve worked so very hard for. My kids are forced to be without their father. While he was here he never got in any trouble. He worked very hard and we had a strong family. I don’t know what to do. Some days it takes everything I have just to function. I am currantly looking to hire another attorney and start over again, the last one just took my money and did nothing. Is there any hope??

  5. my husband was deported for over stay here in turkey we are legal marriage in the country and i am a turkish citizen they are telling that he can comeback to me but how long would it takes?

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