[Ppnews] Note lures immigrant to her arrest
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 6 08:41:45 EDT 2006
Note lures immigrant to her arrest
Lawyer thought D.M. teen was to get green card
<mailto:jejacobs at dmreg.com?subject=Note lures immigrant to her
arrest>By JENNIFER JACOBS
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
When a lawyer for Estephanie Izaquirre, a parentless teenager from
Honduras, received an e-mail from an immigration official in Des
Moines saying the girl should come downtown and "complete the
paperwork" Thursday, he thought that meant she was about to get her green card.
Instead, a deportation officer arrested Izaquirre, five days after
she graduated from East High School in Des Moines.
"This was just calculated as hell, and it's hugely problematic," the
lawyer, Jim Benzoni, said. "Immigration services is using false
inducements to get people in there. If our clients are supposed to be
telling the truth, why is the government not required to do the same?"
The tactic is being used increasingly throughout the United States,
especially within the last six months, to reduce the number of people
who stay in the country despite a deportation order, said Amy Peck,
an Omaha lawyer who is the national chairwoman of the liaison
committee between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the
American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Several lawyers have reported to the committee that officials are
using similarly vague wording "as a ruse to get people to come in" so
they can be arrested, Peck said.
"It's a trick," she said. "It is misleading. But I can't go as far as
to say it's improper."
U.S. immigration officials said Izaquirre was a fugitive - she
sneaked across the U.S. border at age 13 - and there was an
outstanding order for her deportation.
"The e-mail was exactly what it says ... finalize the situation. Her
attorney can say it's deliberately vague, but I think it's specific
in saying we need to complete our paperwork and take action one way
or another," said Marilu Cabrera, spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services.
Benzoni said he would continue to fight the deportation of Izaquirre,
who he said is essentially an orphan. Her mother is dead and her
father was never in the picture.
The person looking after her in Honduras pressed her into
prostitution, the lawyer said.
In 2001, Izaquirre made the journey to be with her sister, Reyna
Jasso, who came to the United States illegally but married an
American and is now a U.S. citizen living in Des Moines.
Soon after Izaquirre crossed the border into Texas, she was picked up
by immigration officials, then released into the custody of her
traveling companion - a woman who pretended to be her aunt, Benzoni
said. Izaquirre was given notice of an immigration hearing with a
time and date to be determined later.
A notice of the hearing date was mailed to an address in Iowa that
the "aunt" had provided; it was returned stamped "undelivered" to the
immigration office, Benzoni said. The lawyer said immigration
officials confirmed that the letter was not delivered.
When Izaquirre didn't appear for the hearing, a federal judge issued
an order for her deportation in her absence.
Meanwhile, Benzoni used a provision in the law that allows young
immigrants who qualify as "children in need of assistance" to get a
green card even if they're in the country illegally.
Izaquirre at age 17 was granted special immigrant juvenile status as
an abandoned, abused child with nowhere else to go.
On Tuesday, the day after her 18th birthday, the e-mail asking her to
"complete the paperwork" arrived.
"That's playing dirty," said Lori Chesser, a Des Moines immigration
lawyer. "What are we going after juveniles for? I mean, can't we
concentrate on drug traffickers and human traffickers? I don't
understand where we're going with this enforcement."
Spokesman Tim Counts said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
deported 167,000 people last year; about 3,000 were from the
five-state area including Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and
South Dakota. Half of all those deported were classified "criminal
aliens" because of prior criminal histories. The U.S. government
reports more than 12 million illegal immigrants living here.
"Anytime we arrest anyone who isn't an ax murderer, people ask us
what we're doing," Counts said. "Anyone who is in the United States
illegally is subject to arrest and removal. We always prioritize
cases involving national security and criminal activity, but we also
enforce the immigration laws."
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