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Confusing citizens for non-citizens [Video]

Photo by William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

Before I begin, first let me state clearly that I refuse to sift through any of the ignorant discharge that flows continuously from the sewage pipe that is Ann Coulter’s mouth. I don’t want to risk seeing my laptop shatter to pieces after I’ve thrown it at the wall. But for those of you who are curious enough (and with indestructible devices), Roque Planas over at HuffPo takes on the honorable task of wading into her most recent muck.

Moving along, today’s first post deals with a bit of reporting by another assiduous HuffPo staffer, Elise Foley:

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement requested that local law enforcement agencies hold more than 800 U.S. citizens — a majority of whom were never convicted of a crime — between 2008 and 2012, according to ICE data released Wednesday by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

ICE routinely asked local law enforcement to hold people after arrests if they were suspected of being in the United States without authorization. In most cases, those requests were for undocumented immigrants, but legal permanent residents, who can be deported under certain circumstances, and U.S. citizens could get caught up in the mix.

ICE asked law enforcement to hold 834 U.S. citizens and 28,489 legal permanent residents between fiscal year 2008 and the beginning of fiscal year 2012, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which is affiliated with Syracuse University. Overall, ICE issued 949,126 detainer requests in that period.”

As ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement, the figures were collected before the release a December 2012 memo restricting the use of detainers “against individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses.”

Ms. Foley and ICE insist that U.S citizens can’t be deported, but both know that isn’t true.

In late 2011 NPR told the stories of three Americans deported in recent years. One man, George Ibarra, a Marine veteran of the first Gulf War suffering from PTSD, was deported twice while trying to prove his citizenship. While Ibarra was born in Mexico and was brought to Phoenix as a baby where he grew up, he was eligible for “derived citizenship” due to his grandfather and great-grandmother being natural born citizens of the United States. Despite that — and the large Marine insignia tattooed on his chest — the country he risked his life and mental health defending still managed to deport him, twice.

As a natural born American myself, it’s chilling to discover just how little my citizenship is actually worth. It seems that in either my strong republican sensibility or my youthful naiveté I’ve fooled myself into believing that citizenship in a democratic society is one of the most valuable traits any person can possess.

But, then again, it’s what I’ve been arguing all along — that citizenship is both priceless on the one hand and utterly meaningless on the other. It’s what allows me to call the DREAMer who’s a hard worker, a good student and politically engaged a better citizen than the natural born American who is none of those things.

The immigration system is truly broken, but the dysfunction lies in how we differentiate between the citizens and the non-citizens.


In a related story, you should check out the video of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) being chewed out at town hall over his new stance on immigration. People on the left tend to avoid the sad fact that the Republican Party is against immigration reform because the average Republican voter is opposed to it.

Video Credit: 12 News KPNX Phoenix

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007,, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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