Mr Sulu tweeted:
Make no mistake: The ICE raids in six states are not business as usual. They are meant to terrorize and destabilize our cities, communities.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 11, 2017
The tweet, of course, refers to Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, an illegal immigrant who had been living in Arizona, and convicted of a felony for using a fake Social Security number. She had previously made seven visits for her regularly scheduled immigration check-ins. “After each meeting, the married mother of two was released and went back to her family.” Mrs Garcia had been under a deportation order since 2013, but the Obama Administration wasn’t enforcing that order.
She came illegally to the United States in the mid-1990s with her parents when she was 14. She was arrested in 2008 during a workplace raid and convicted one year later of felony criminal impersonation.
After her conviction she appealed a court order to voluntarily deport and lost. She became the subject of a removal order in 2013 and was placed court-ordered supervision, which required her to report on a provided schedule to an ICE office until her order of removal was “affected,” or acted on.
US immigration officials acknowledged that she was compliant with her supervision order. She showed up for each of her seven immigration check-ins prior to Wednesday.
Officials said her case had followed the legal system process and it was time for her to go back to her home country.
“(Her) immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system, including the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the judges held she did not have a legal basis to remain in the US,” ICE said in a statement.
Carlos Garcia, director of immigration rights group Puente Arizona, said “ICE had done what President Trump wanted — which is deport and separate our families.”
It’s pretty obvious, despite what Carlos Garcia said, that he case had been, as ICE stated, working its way through the legal process well before Mr Trump took office, but what ICE is doing is enforcing the law. Mr Sulu seems to believe that enforcing the law “meant to terrorize and destabilize our cities, communities.”
Mrs Garcia’s case has become a cause célèbre, because she was (apparently) not engaged in any criminal activity since her 2009 conviction, just rearing her children, and people are just so sympathetic, don’t you know?
Activists and her lawyer cautioned that she could be deported under the new Trump administration policy. They offered sanctuary at a church but she decided to check in anyway, said Lucy Sandoval, an activist who has been working with Garcia de Rayos’ family.
“She wanted to confront this,” Sandoval said. “They were hopeful that there would be some consciousness and some heart.”
But the same argument can be made concerning any convicted felon. After all, every thug, every gang banger, every “white collar” criminal convicted is still leaving behind distraught family members when he’s hauled off to the penitentiary. Mayor Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) said:
Rather than tracking down violent criminals and drug dealers, ICE is spending its energy deporting a woman with two American children who has lived here for more than two decades and poses a threat to nobody.
Of course, not much “energy” was spent tracking down Mrs Garcia, since she reported as scheduled!
The immigration executive orders signed by Trump could amount to a vast expansion of authority for individual immigration officers and a dramatic increase in efforts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.
The order lays out a series of categories of undocumented immigrants that immigration law enforcement officials should prioritize for removing from the country, a reaction to what was criticized by the right as lax enforcement of immigration law by President Barack Obama.
The Obama administration had prioritized expulsion of undocumented immigrants who threatened public safety or national security, had ties to criminal gang activity, committed serious felony offenses or were habitual misdemeanor criminal offenders.
Trump’s order goes far beyond that, using a sweeping definition of “criminal” and giving a single immigration officer the ability to make judgments on threats to public safety, regardless of whether the person has been convicted of a crime.
If someone is here illegally, he has committed a crime, period. There should not be any leniency, simply because someone, like Mrs Garcia, perhaps, isn’t necessarily a threat to public safety.
But, since we at The First Street Journal make a habit of telling you the unvarnished truth, I will point out the dirty little secret about illegal immigration. The federal government loves illegal immigration, at least when those immigrants aren’t breaking too many laws. Mrs Garcia’s case demonstrates the reason. Her conviction was for using a fake Social Security number. Why was she using a fake Social Security number? Because she had a legitimate job, one in which her employer was withholding income, Social Security and Medicare taxes from her paycheck, and the government just loves collecting those taxes!
Think about it: Mrs Garcia, and every other illegal immigrant working and paying taxes under a false Social Security number, are sending in part of their wages for benefits they will not be able to collect. It’s nothing but ‘profit’ for the government to be able to collect Social Security and Medicare taxes from people who will not be eligible to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. Why should the government ever want to stop that tax inflow?
Mrs Garcia’s conviction was in 2009. Presumably, she ceased using that faked Social Security number then, but that raises the question: how was she making a living without using another faked Social Security number? Google searches have not yielded that information, but The New York Times reported that her husband is also “undocumented,” which means that he is probably working — and paying taxes — under a false Social Security number. If that’s not the case, what other options exist?
- Her husband — the Times wouldn’t print his name — is working ‘off the books,’ for cash, and not paying taxes; or
- The whole family is living on welfare, which they are not legally eligible to receive.
Let me be brutally frank about this: Mrs Garcia’s family had to have been committing other crimes since her 2008 arrest, or they would have starved to death!
And that is true of almost every illegal immigrant, because, in the United States, there are legal obligations which have to be met simply to live. More, to survive here illegally, the immigrants need other people to break the law as well. If someone is going to work, as Mrs Garcia did, with a fake Social Security number, either her employer failed to do his due diligence in examining her documents, or she obtained false documents from a forger. If someone is going to work off the books, for cash, not only is he evading taxes, but whoever is paying him is also evading taxes.¹ There’s simply no such thing as an illegal immigrant who broke the law only once!
Another dirty little secret: the government already knows who most of these people are! This isn’t the eighties: the government is fully computerized, and the Social Security Administration not only knows every duplicated or faked Social Security number under which taxes are being paid, but also knows which employers are remitting those Social Security and Medicare taxes. It might require some changes in the law, but Social Security ought to report to the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement every time there is a use of a faked Social Security number and which employers are remitting those taxes. Employers who wanted to stay legal would start doing their due diligence, such as using eVerify, to check to make sure their employees are legal. Getting serious and putting a few employers in jail would send the message to all of the rest.
Donald Trump ran for President on stopping illegal immigration, and he’s making a start, but there’s a lot more which can be done.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – There will be some cases, though not many, in which the illegal immigrant is a sole proprietor — a small landscaper, for example, doing lawn care services — in which there is no one paying him who is evading taxes.