The DUI, the “express” tool of the Government to deport immigrants

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The DUI, the "express" tool of the Government to deport immigrants Police officers guard the entrance of the Office of Immigration and Customs Control (ICE). EFE / Archive

 The Trump administration, which does not lower its guard in its anti-immigrant policies, has turned the IUD into an “express” tool of deportation, according to jurists, activists and also directly affected.

Immigration authorities are tightening the arrests of immigrants with a record of drunk driving violations, it does not matter if they were arrested for a minor offense or if it was in the past when a DUI arrest occurred, Daniel Rodríguez, a lawyer at Immigration and Family Law Law in Arizona.

“A DUI kills an immigration case: for the court, the individual becomes a danger to the community and a criminal case, and the authorities focus more on the racial profile to deny bail,” Rodríguez describes.

This jurist further points out that the detainees are immediately channeled to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE).

“Once the immigrant is inside the detention center, he is less likely to fight his case to stop his deportation,” he says.

Rodriguez contrasts that, “under the administration of (Barack) Obama, a recent DUI was a priority for deportation, but in Trump everything became a priority, it does not matter if (the immigrant) was arrested years ago,” he explained.

This is the case of Norberto Torres, who was recently arrested for speeding. The police realized that Torres was arrested 10 years ago for a DUI and for this reason he was “channeled” to a detention center.

“I currently have two options: go to jail or be deported, in either case I have to declare a danger to society and leave the country,” he said.

The Hispanic, owner of a furniture store, noted that, instead, he has “a citizen (American) nephew who takes four drunken arrests and does not judge him as an undocumented person, I am not even a recidivist,” Efe Torres emphasized.

In recent weeks, several operations conducted by ICE throughout the country have left a balance of 1,191 arrests of immigrants, whose fingerprints are part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Under the name of “Operation Safe Streets,” it has been sought to stop undocumented immigrants with a history of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to ICE assistant director of research in Boston, Todd Michael Lyons.

“These people were being overlooked, driving under the influence is a dangerous threat, regardless of the country of origin, it is an even more disturbing crime when it is committed by someone who does not have the legal right to be in this country,” said Lyons. by making the procedure known.

Due to these operations, which have resulted in hundreds of arrests, “voluntary deportation” to avoid further legal problems is an option offered by immigration authorities.

The Mexican Rómulo Estrada entered the country legally with a work visa, a permit that over time expired.

He then had two DUI arrests in Phoenix, Arizona, so a judge gave him the option of “voluntary deportation” to avoid sending him to a detention center.

The proposal gave him the opportunity to sell his properties in the United States and settle his accounts to return to Mexico. But most of the detainees seek to fight their case and stay in the country.

With 12 years living without “papers” in Tempe, also in Arizona, another immigrant, Alberto Ortiz, four months ago is in a detention center after being arrested with alcoholic breath. Ortiz told Efe that he has spent more than 10,000 dollars on lawyers, without finally obtaining bail.

“DUI detainees hire lawyers and they may find some legal loophole that can help them, but if they are not legally protected and detain them for alcohol or drugs … it is an almost absolute sentence of deportation,” said the activist and expert in immigration Carmen Cornejo.

Cornejo mentioned that the DUI has always existed as a tool of deportation on the part of ICE, but “it has variables that go up and down according to the administrations”.

“Definitely for the government of the United States a DUI is a mark that will never be erased in an immigration record, it is like a sentence and a more accurate express exit point,” said the activist, who believes that the combination between the actions of ICE and the police create the perfect machinery for deportation.

“You can be arrested for a felony and if you are an undocumented person they will take action quickly,” Cornejo said. (EFEUSA) .-

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