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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

And from President Obama's other face, another honor student faces deportation

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I just read on Prerna Lal's blog that another DREAMer is falling victim to President Obama's 400,000 per year deportation machine.

Jonathan Chavez came to the United States legally when he was a child as a derivative to his parents' working visas.   He grew up in Arkansas and graduated from high school with a 4.0 average, singing solos in his church choir.  He now attends the University of Arkansas Honors College.


Jonathan was recently picked up by immigration officers on a trip home from school to visit his parents, both who have lawful status in the United States.  Unfortunately, Jonathan doesn't. Now he is behind bars in ICE custody, and faces deportation to a country that he doesn't know, and that is not his home.  

Just so we are perfectly clear, Jonathan ISN'T an "anchor baby".  Just the opposite.  His parents have lawful status in this country.  They have NOTHING to gain from an immigration perspective should he be granted lawful status in the United States, so take that right out of the equation.  

President Obama spoke just this week in the State of the Union about how our immigration laws need to be changed so kids just like Jonathan do not fall victim to our draconian immigration laws, and yet three days after the President spoke these words another young and hopeful child's life is being destroyed by this man's deportation policies.  The end result is that two parents will have their child taken from them.

Many people say that the President must enforce our immigration laws.  This is true. That being said the President and his administration have it in their authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion as to who they chose to deport.  Make no mistake about it, this President's administration has chosen to deport Jonathan.  

The deportation process goes like this.  An individual is encountered by immigration officials who may question the individual's status in the United States.  Should they have reason to believe that someone doesn't maintain lawful status they may elect to institute immigration court proceedings through the creation of a document called a Notice to Appear (NTA).  The NTA contains the reasons why an individual is suspected as being deportable, and the section of law that authorizes the deportation.

Once the NTA is created it is typically given to government lawyers (Assistant Chief Counsel) to review prior to the NTA being filed with an immigration court.  These lawyers determine if the immigration officers have properly issued the Notice to Appear, and if the institution of immigration court proceedings is warranted.  Once the "ok" is given by the lawyers, the Notice to Appear is filed with an Immigration Court, who then has the sole authority to determine whether the individual should be deported.

Point being, there are multiple steps that must occur prior to deportation proceedings being instituted, and at any point the Government may elect not to move forward with deportation.  In all fairness the deportation officers who encounter people like Jonathan are just doing their job.  They are not the enemies here, and should not be treated as such.  Moreover, the immigration lawyers  who prosecute the deportation cases are also just doing their job.  They have superiors to answer to and policy guidelines that dictate how cases should be handled.  

So who should we blame?  Who do you think?

President Obama's administration has issued policy guidelines that have established record breaking deportation quotas that have resulted in more people being deported since Obama took office than at any other time in the history of the United States.  This is where the Obama administration is failing people like Jonathan.

If you want to place blame, the only place you need to look is the top of the food chain.  President Obama has it in his power to issue policy guidelines that strongly encourages lawyers under his charge to favorably exercise prosecutorial discretion by not instituting deportation proceedings against DREAM Act eligible children who are attending school, have no criminal records, and but for the fact that they were not born in this country are as American as apple pie.

Our President chooses not to.

This is the problem with this President.  He reads all the right things from the teleprompter when a microphone is in front of him.  He says that he is a friend to immigrants, and his rhetoric is very convincing.  President Obama's actions, however, are in stark contrast to his empty yet syrupy words.  

So you ask, is there anything we can do about it.  The answer is yes.  In my experience the only way to make this President's action match up to his words is to embarrass him.  We must remain as vocal as humanly possible about what this administration is doing to children like Jonathan Chavez.  We must sign petitions, and write blogs, attend protest rallies, and scream at the top of our lungs that deporting promising and hard working children is simply not acceptable.

Most of all, we must tell this President that he has two VERY short years to turn things around, because if he doesn't he will be back in the private sector doing what he does best... community organizing alongside us.

PLEASE sign this petition and help embarrass this President into doing the right thing by stopping the deportation of Johnathan Chavez.  Forward the link to all of your friends and implore them to do the same... and most of all don't give up hope because if we scream loud enough they will hear our voices, and the "Change" we were promised may actually become a reality.


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