Tonight’s film, Immigrant America: The High Cost of Deporting Parents, directed by guest Roy Germano for VICE News, shows the impact of deportation on one family. Ray Jesus is just one of the faces caught up in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quota of 400,000 deportations a year.
Jesus admits he came to the U.S. illegally, and his lawyer admits that Ray got lost in piles of paperwork, and both he and his old lawyer dropped the ball on his citizenship papers. In the decade that followed, Ray married, had children, started his own business which employed up to ten people at a time, and paid taxes. He was the sole earner in his household, supporting seven people, and sending money back to Guatemala where his parents live. His parents were able to build a cement house in their village–the same house Ray lives in since his deportation.
Ray now works part-time in a granite quarry sledge-hammering rocks used to make the cement for homes paid for by immigrants who send money home. His boss made enough money in the U.S. to start the quarry business.
When Ray applied for a new drivers license, his lack of citizenship papers triggered an arrest by ICE agents–on his front lawn, in front of his kids. He was immediately deported with literally the shirt on his back.
The cost to tax papers to fly Ray back home–including holding and processing? $12,500. Now math is hard, but if ICE is deporting 400,000 people annually to meet their quota–that’s a freaking lot of money. Ray’s family had all their financial needs met by Ray–food, shelter, health insurance. Now the government, the taxpayers, you and I, are covering those expenses to the tune of over $100,000 a year.
Yes, as Ray’s ultra-conservative best friend points out, there are people who should be deported–criminals and do-naughts–but ICE’s “deport ‘em all and let the courts sort it out” impacts our hard-working, taxpaying, job creators with families (so much for “anchor babies”!). Ray actually had begun the paperwork process when he was deported, but that had no bearing, he was shipped out.
Director Germano puts a human face on the Obama’s Administration’s immigration policies and the the high cost of deporting parents, and provides hard and cold facts that are painful to hear, whether your are liberal or conservative.