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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Ruben Navarette writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that four year old Emily Ruiz, the American girl who was denied entry to the US when her grandfather was sent back to Guatemala, was deported despite the denials of an embarrassed Department of Homeland Security.

I will not be cajoled into referring to what happened to Emily as a "de facto deportation."

Baloney. The girl was on U.S. soil, and then she wasn't. And she was sent back to Guatemala, her parents' homeland, under the authority of the U.S. government - specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And she was, throughout her ordeal, in the custody of the U.S government. That's a deportation.


You can say the process was misapplied in this case because Emily is a U.S. citizen. But let's not allow the government or anyone else to lessen a grave injustice by calling it by anything but its proper name.

Emily's parents are not legally in the US. They claim USCIS told them that in light of their immigration status they could put their daughter in a detention facility far away from the airport or be sent home to Guatemala. The parents feared their daughter would be put up for adoption so they elected the second choice.  Navarette concludes that CBP agents behaved and we shouldn't just drop our attention to what happened in the case:

But Emily's parents are not on the public payroll. They don't act in our names. What should be of greater concern to Americans is how government agents behaved during all of this, and whether they could have tried harder to get what was no doubt a scared little girl home to her parents. Or whether they wanted to wash their hands of the whole ugly situation as fast as they could.

Too bad for Customs and Border Protection, some stains don't come out in the wash.

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  1. Jack's Avatar
    Deportation, by legal definition, only applies to aliens.

    To the critics, what should be the procedure in this situation? Assurances to the parents that they will not be held accountable to immigration law?
  2. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Jack, you are no legal scholar, I presume. US citizens get deported quite regularly, so yes, she was.

    The procedure is to release her to her parents. It's not the border patrol's business what civil violation her parents may have committed as long as the court has not stripped them of custody, period. Based on your logic, next time your child is lost is taken to a police station, you would not be able to pick her up if you have an outstanding parking ticket.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    As I had said earlier, perhaps the US government has plenty of money when one of these days they will get sued and have to pay out millions!
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    These people have Carte Blanch to DO WHAT EVER!!!! this will happen will not even get a "we are sorry, we f@$#! up"
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