There's been a lot of news about the policies of the United States when it comes to deporting those who are here "illegally." I'm not going to touch on the issue of those coming into the country now, but of those who have been here, with the governments knowledge, for a long time.
Recently, there have been two big reasons why the US seems keen to deport as many people as possible:
1) Because of some high profile murder cases that were done by felons who should have been deported (such as this or this), the public wants to know why they were still in the US if the chance to send them back existed
2) Because the US and China are in a complex power struggle, and part of that involves the US wanting to "return" many of the unofficial Chinese immigrants in the US back when they can, to make a point
Issue #1 above here is the really interesting one to me.
I'll be honest when I say I don't know much about deportation laws, but I did learn that once a green card holder commits a felony, they can be deported at any time.
Such was the case with the man who committed one of the murders I mentioned above-he had actually been deported to Mexico 5 times, and people were upset that he was released for review rather than just deported again--they believe the murder in San Francisco wouldn't have happened if this had not occurred.
But then there are people like Daniel Maher. Clearly, someone like him is different from the violent ex-cons who continue to commit crimes after being released.
Daniel Maher is, by my definition, an American.
He came to the US when he was 3 years old with his parents, from Macau (it was it's own country then). Macau is now part of China. His parents were sponsored by friends for permanent residency, meaning they entered the country legally. His younger brother was born in America. In his early 20s, Daniel made mistakes and was convicted of a drug-related felony for robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to 11 years; he was released early.
During the time of his release, he had many reviews, in which everyone believed he would live a more straight life afterwards, and he has. Also, there was a chance of him being deported at that time. A request for the travel documetns needed was sent to his "homeland" China, but China never sent them. So, Maher was told he could stay. He regularly met up with the deportation officers as they requested and knew he could be deported at any time. He did not resist, because he knew this was his own doing because of his felony ruining his green card status. But it seemed that, after years of this game, he would never be deported.
And then, public sentiment and government agendas changed. So, the government now needs to meet a minimum quota to show that they can match the public's idea of what needs to be done to keep "dangerous illegals" out of the country.
And so Daniel Maher is being detained for deportation once again.
And more than 3,000 people have already signed a petition, on his side, that he should be allowed to say.
Now, I understand that the law says that he can be deported at any time.
But can the the law not be wrong? Is it not obvious that not every case of "that green card holder committed a felony so he should leave now" is not that crystal clear?
Just because it's the law doesn't mean it's right. That's why we have the ability to reform it, which is desperately needed.
Look--he paid his time. He served. He changed. He hasn't done anything since. Anyone can make mistakes--plenty of people do. He is not the first person to be raised as an American yet not become a citizen then be deported because of his criminal record. Sure, he should have applied to be a citizen at 18 but it may not have been possible for him financially.
I keep seeing people arguing that if China had just taken him back then when he was originally supposed to be deported (which they wouldn't for political reasons), this wouldn't be an issue. But why should one man's life and future be decided by the political games of the US and China?
He is American, by my definition, and I hope he gets to stay.