First, from the New York Times, see "Record number of foreigners were deported in 2011, officials say" (Sept. 7), which reported that "Immigration agents deported 391,953 foreign-born people during the 2011 fiscal year, the department’s Office of Immigration Statistics reported. They included more than 188,000 people who had been convicted of crimes in the United States — an “all-time high” for such deportations, the report found." What's more:
At the Mexican border, reported the NY Times, "2011, the Border Patrol captured about 335,000 migrants trying to cross illegally, the lowest number since 1971, and the figures are continuing to drop. High rates of unemployment here and intensified border enforcement have discouraged many migrants from Mexico and Central America from attempting illegal crossings, officials said."In addition to formal deportations, last year Homeland Security Department agents expelled about 324,000 foreigners back to their countries without formal court proceedings, according to the report. Most were illegal immigrants who agreed to leave voluntarily after they were detained, rather than be removed by the authorities.According to the new figures, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is known as ICE, detained about 429,000 immigrants last year, another record.
Relatedly, via the TM Daily Post, I ran across this Los Angeles Times story ("Deportees to Mexico's Tamaulipas preyed upon by gangs," Sept. 8) depicting what happens to some Mexicans who're sent back, pointing out that around one-quarter of deportees to Mexico are sent to the state of Tamaulipas, though most of them aren't from there. Criminal gangs have begun targeting them for kidnapping. "In the [bus] station, gang members sidle up to migrants and ask questions. Those with deep ties to the U.S. are deemed secuestrable, or 'kidnapable.' Young migrants are potential recruits." According to AP, this summer "The U.S. government has halted flights home for Mexicans caught entering the country illegally" as a cost saving measure, though they may resume soon in a redesigned program.
Finally, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram republished an exceptional (and lengthy) story out of Washington state depicting pretrial detention policies for immigrants held on civil infractions, honing in on political machinations by the GEO Group to build a pretrial detention facility in Tacoma (while ignoring state environmental regulations) and an individual case of an undocumented immigrant, brought here 18 years ago by his parents, who was arrested for driving with a suspended license and who's been held for more than a year awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings. The story demonstrates in excruciating detail a factor Grits thinks is often under-emphasized: The extent to which immigration law is in many respects a complex subset of family law, implicating myriad familial relationships from the parents who first brought the fellow here to his ex-wife to whom (until his incarceration) he paid $900 per month in child support on behalf of their three children. The name of his oldest daughter: "America."