San Diego, CA- Three buses of undocumented immigrants being taken to a Southern California border patrol station for processing were met with a large crowd of angry anti-immigrant protesters who blocked their passage. The three buses with approximately 140 immigrants on board had to be re-routed to a different border patrol station as protesters from both sides of the debate engaged in heated clashes.
CNN reported that anti-immigration protesters carried signs and chanted slogans like “Impeach Obama” “Go Home” and “Return to Sender.” Though participants were impassioned, no violence broke out and no one was arrested.
In response to the protest, ICE decided to re-route the buses to another area and refused to disclose where exactly they would be sent for processing. Over 50,000 have crossed the border, mainly in Texas, since October so it’s likely more bus loads will be arriving at the border.
The surge at the border is a definitely a crisis and needs to be effectively addressed, but addressing the issue doesn’t mean the safety and legal rights of immigrants shouldn’t be ignored.
The thing many of the anti-immigrant protesters fail to understand is that under U.S. immigration law, the majority of these immigrants must be adjudicated before they can be deported. If they pass criminal background checks and other screens, they have the right to challenge their deportation with the help of an immigration attorney. It’s the law and similar to the right all Americans have to present a defense on their behalf if they’re facing criminal charges.
It can weeks or months before an immigrant has the opportunity to appear in immigration court and hear a decision on their request for relief from deportation. In the meantime, they must be housed somewhere, which can be either at border patrol stations on the taxpayer’s dime or with relatives living in the U.S. Neither of those two options appeal to anti-immigrant hardliners and yet their only real solution, turning them away, isn’t exactly kosher with the country’s immigration laws.
Immigrants who can’t pass a criminal background check can be deported immediately. Other loopholes allow some immigrants to be deported the minute they cross the border and border patrol agents turn thousands of people away at the border on a weekly, perhaps a daily basis. Who could turn away a kid at the border after they traveled hundreds or thousands of miles?
The influx of immigrants at the Southern Border consists mainly of women and unaccompanied minors who are fleeing drug and gang violence in Central America. They have very few options for immigrating to the U.S. legally, since the majority of asylum claims from Mexico and Central America are visa approvals can take months, sometimes years.
Legal immigration is preferable and even when someone enters the U.S. illegally, there are ways for an immigrant to get right with the law. An immigration attorney can show an immigrant the ways different avenues they have attain a legal presence and avoid deportation.