2 years ago
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US Deportation Crisis: Where is the Line?
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.
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This is a really interesting card- and a very complicated issue. I personally think it's not right for us to be treating documented immigrants (those with green cards) differently from other citizens. We don't deport felons who were born here, so why would we deport felons who weren't? Not only does the distinction not make much sense (especially in the case of Daniel Maher, since it sounds like he's spent such significant portion of his life here), but it feels like an undue burden being placed on people who immigrate here. I'm continuously appalled by the way we treat undocumented citizens here as well.
@shannonl5 We only do it when it will make the gov't image better, really. Sure, we'l do it more often if there is a history of repeated crime by a felon, but other than that it's done politically and only at particular times. It's sad I've almost become used to reading this kind of story. How can this be the norm in america
@drwhat yeah I think it's important to keep in mind that there's a political element at play, not just a legal one, you're totally right. It is really demoralizing how often we hear stories like this. Especially in the current political climate since it seems like Congress is determined to prevent any meaningful immigration reform. I think continuing to draw attention to the issue will emphasize its importance though, especially cards like this that lay out all the information.
@shannonl5 As ridiculous as it is that Donald Trump is even a candidate currently, it's actually kind of great that it seems that immigration and related policy problems will be a big issue in this campaign, and hopefully will turn out to be more positive as the hands in power change over in the house and senate as well
@drwhat it seems like his aggression is bringing the issue to the forefront. I feel like because his views are so extreme it's forcing people to reconsider. I think it does depend on how the coming elections go, I'm hoping for a better turnout than we've had in previous years.