17 immigrants deported, many more affected

The Latino community has been somewhat unsettled the past few weeks. After a series of recent arrests by the ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) Federal agents that resulted in the deportation of 17 immigrants, regardless of their legal status, leaving many Quad City families without their sole bread winner.deportacion

It was reported that the arrests happened in Rock Island County on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 13 and 14. A total of 17 people were arrested including 14 Hispanic men, 2 Hispanic women, and a French national. Several of the immigrants arrested were permanent U.S. residents but under U.S. law they risk losing their legal status. The charges varied from serious convictions like unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to DUI’s. The Latino community is divided on the issue on whether those with a criminal background should be subject to deportation. After speaking with legislators, Casa Guanajuato President Bob Imler says that the public needs to be educated. “We can anticipate more of these (deportations) actions. More are likely to occur and this is targeted at individuals who have had a crime like DUI’s or what have you.”
Spanish radio disk jockey Luis Lara, is an immigrant who has lived in the United States roughly 30 years and believes that the law is the law. “I’ve met many different people. Some come to take advantage of the system. They are undesirable. We don’t need them here,” Lara said.  “As they say when we jump the puddle [cross the river], we come to better ourselves economically. If I lose a friend, I’ll feel bad but it’s the way it goes.”
Lara feels as though sometimes these individuals give law abiding immigrant Latinos a bad rap, making all of them look bad.
Some people question whether it’s a form double jeopardy. Is it fair to be punished again for a crime you have already been punished for? On Nov. 19 community leaders organized an informational meeting on immigrant rights at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church gym in Moline.  A lawyer from the Illinois Coalitions for Immigrant and Refugee Rights talked to a group of about 150 people about immigration laws. On Jan. 6 Casa Guanajuato, 133 4th Ave. Moline, will host a follow up meeting open to the public. For more details keep reading Hola America and visit www.hola-america.com.
Community advocate Stella Schneekloth is a volunteer at Casa Guanajuato and works with some people who are directly affected. “The people that I know are not a threat to the individual or society here. They are no different than any other individuals who break the law, pay the price and then forgotten. We are punishing them twice,” Schneekloth said.
Others question whether Latino immigrants are being singled out. Black Hawk College student Fabi Nache believes just that. “That’s stupid, it’s based on the race you have. It’s moving away from being legal and not legal. It has to be based on race,” Nache said.
Schneekloth recommends people to be informed about the many changing immigration laws. “The law has a right to be enforced at any given time. Just because you are a permanent resident does not give you a free pass. We’re living in a time that we need to tell people they’re not like anybody else, they are being held to higher standards.” Schneekloth said.
Casa Guanajuato President Bob Imler, gives some advice on pleading guilty to a DUI or any other crime because the lawyer recommends it, “Be advised that a court appointed lawyer does not know your legal status unless it’s specified,” Imler said.  He says that the deportation of some resulted from this lack of communication between them and their court appointed lawyers that didn’t know the legal status of the defendant.

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