Donald Trump's Making New York Suck
Should be easy enough to deport a fifth of the city's immigrants ... Oh, that's the point!
Of New York's total immigrant population of 3.1 million people, around 650,000 are undocumented, and no, not only or even primarily from Mexico. Of the 20,000 New Yorkers who've been ordered deported since Trump's inauguration, nearly a quarter -- 4,900 -- have been ordered to return to China. Which is obviously why we need a wall on the southern border, yes?
New York magazine and the Marshall Project have collaborated to bring you horror stories: Edafe Okporo, who fled Nigeria because he was working for LGBT rights, but whose life was in danger thanks to people whipped up by anti-gay propaganda, some of which has been imported by American fundagelicals.
I had gotten a travel visa to attend a conference in the U.S. When I arrived at JFK, I walked over to an Immigration officer and said, 'I am fearful for my life.' I was put in handcuffs and thrown in the back of a bus. I was ashamed of myself. People saw me in chains, even people I took the same flight with. Maybe they thought I was a drug dealer or criminal.
I didn't know where they were taking me. There was a little window at the back of the bus, but I was handcuffed at the waist and legs. The lights on the George Washington Bridge were the only thing I could see."
Okporo was granted asylum, but he now fears that even the slightest legal slipup could get him deported, because America is deporting people for misdemeanors, not just felonies.
Then there are the close calls, like what happened to Nirna Pierre-Paul , who was granted temporary protected status in the US following the Haitian earthquake. When Trump rescinded TPS because he doesn't want so many people from shithole countries in the USA, ICE arrested her and started deportation proceedings, although she hadn't broken any laws. Her sister got her in touch with immigration attorney Sarah Gilman, who tried to sort out the mess:
We filed a petition arguing that they shouldn't have been permitted to just take her into custody without prior notice and revoke her order of supervision. In court, the judge asked the government attorney, "Why did you detain her?" He said, "Well, I just had to detain her because of operational procedures that have to be followed." So basically, they detained a human being who has multiple medical issues and was living in New York City for a long time without any problems, because they had to do something operationally. I think they've been chomping at the bit to do this and now they have the license.
Due process? Not anymore -- and not for everyone, unless they manage to get a good attorney (fortunately, New York has a program to provide immigration attorneys, but it's being overwhelmed by the need). Eventually, Gilman was able to document that Nirna Pierre-Paul's mother is a citizen, and argued that Nirna has a strong case for citizenship, so she was released, at least until the next time higher-ups feel like reinterpreting the rules.
"KV," a trafficking victim born in El Salvador recalls,
When Trump won, I was in a hotel. I was watching TV and I'm like, "Oh no, I'm really getting deported." [My trafficker] really took advantage more of the situation. The abuse started happening more often. Because he knew how scared I was to get deported. He was like, "They don't want y'all here, if you ever call the police or do anything, they're going to send you back home."
KV has applied for a special visa for human trafficking victims; the Marshall Project's Alysia Santo notes such visas have become harder to get under Trump. Similarly, Emma Medina, Women's Services Coordinator at Voces Latinas in Queens, says women have refused to leave abusive husbands or boyfriends because they fear they will be deported and lose their kids.
That keeps the abuse going. Fear is with them every day. An undocumented woman here was pregnant. Her husband would come home drunk and beat her. All she cared about was protecting the baby. She would cover her belly with her arms and let him beat her. She didn't report him because she didn't want him to be deported. She was protecting him to protect the baby.
And yes, this is in one of those sanctuary cities where undocumented people supposedly have it so easy.
Go bookmark the Marshall Project website and scroll through it -- it's like a bizarre coffee table book of this insane time in our history. The New York piece has much of the same material, but it's a bit less expansive (but possibly more browser-friendly on a phone or tablet).
What a strange arbitrary excuse for justice we've all arrived at, where everyday readers are learning how good cell phone video can help collect evidence that could literally prevent deportations:
We can all watch Big Brother back.
This is how we'll all get through these hell years. Know your rights. Organize. For godssake, vote. Stay on top of all this. The fuckers can't be allowed to win.
Correction/Update: Thanks to an old guy brainfart by Dok Zoom, we originally identified Alysia Santo as a reporter for the "Hudson Institute," when in fact she is with the Marshall Project. Wonkette regrets the error, and our apologies to Ms. Santo and the Marshall Project!