by Lynn Tramonte
(January 2019, Plain Press) The Federal government just put out its deportation “statistics” report for Fiscal Year 2018 ( Link: http://bit.ly/Deport18) , but let’s be clear: this report is not about statistics, it’s about people. Each “statistic” corresponds to a living, breathing human being, with a job, a home, and loved ones who grieve their missing every single day.
There is nothing to celebrate in these statistics. Deportation–permanent banishment from home and family–is an extreme consequence, wildly out of proportion for what is legally a violation of civil law. No level of spin by the President or his henchmen, about who they are deporting, changes that fact.
Here is what we do know: We know that there has been a greater than 1000% increase in deportations to Mauritania since the last fiscal year. That fact should rest heavy on our souls, as we know that Black Mauritanians are being arrested, tortured, enslaved, and abused every single day there. The U.S. government is proudly trumpeting these deportations as something be proud of, while the rest of America should be deeply disgusted and utterly ashamed.
We know that the aggressive stance of ICE’s Detroit Field Office–and its Director Rebecca Adducci–means that Ohio and Michigan families are being acutely impacted by these deportations. Look no further than the two largest workplace raids of the Trump Administration–both carried out by the Detroit ICE Field Office which resulted in the arrest of hundreds of gardeners and pig processors at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center, and Fresh Mark factories. ICE agents brought K-9s and semi-automatic weapons to arrest unarmed working people. They left kids stranded when their parents were arrested. Ohio communities are struggling to recover from this aggression and for many, life will never feel safe again.
We also know that there are some names and “statistics” intended for, but not included, in the government’s report, due to the tremendous grassroots advocacy of ordinary Americans.
Ansly Damus is free today, after more than two years in an Ohio jail for the “offense” of seeking safety in the United States. He was supported by a dedicated group of private citizens who never gave up on his release, and some very excellent attorneys.
Edith Espinal, Leonor Garcia, and Ded Rranxburgaj are living in sanctuary in Ohio and Michigan churches right now, as this is the only way they can be near their families. Local communities are working together to ensure that they are cared for as they live out this ordeal. Like Damus, they have formed deep and lasting relationships with people who were once strangers.
These examples represent the United States of America at its best–and they are not found in the government’s statistics.
Follow the Ohio Immigrant Alliance on Twitter @tramontela
Editor’s Note: The author, Lynn Tramonte, is the Director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance.