Kickstarter campaign for Transient: Illegal Invisible Ignited, a film by Alexander Stockton.
Transient tells the story of Franky DeLuna, an undocumented immigrant that was brought to the US illegally from Mexico when he was a little boy. Franky dreams of being an inventor but is forced to not exist in the country that he calls home. After being deported for contacting the police in order to prevent the rape of one of his coworkers, Franky reunites with his father in Mexico and tries to make a new home in this foreign country that he is technically from. But facing the life-threatening corruption of the cartels which killed his grandfather and forced his mother to bring him to the US years ago, Franky must decide if his home is a country that he doesn't know or a country that doesn't want him. A new take on borders and the American Dream.
In the Texas Tribune today, Julian Aguilar has an excellent article exploring whether young activist immigrants who were deported or returned to Mexico of their own accord and then returned to U.S. ports of entry seeking asylum are hurting or helping the cause of comprehensive immigration reform.
Carlos Spector, who represents more than 100 Mexican families seeking asylum, said Monday that the tactics of groups like theDREAM 9 in Arizona or the DREAM 34 in Texas betray the cause of comprehensive immigration reform that they seek to champion.
“Both groups did not consult the work of the local community that has 25 years of experience working on these issues,” said Spector, who is also the co-founder of Mexicanos en Exilio, or Mexicans in Exile, a nonprofit outfit that helps endangered Mexicans move safely to the U.S. “They played into the right wing’s argument and narrative that Mexicans are using the asylum process frivolously just to enter the country.”
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Groups who support such DREAMer groups, however, say they are serving a noble cause. They say they are bringing attention to youths who were deported to Mexico but are just as deserving as other immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S.
To receive asylum, petitioners must show they have a valid fear of persecution or death due to a number of factors, including religion, ethnicity, participation in a political group or sexual orientation.
Spector, who just weeks ago declined to openly criticize the groups, spoke Monday about a case he said proves his argument against the activists. That morning, Carlos Gutierrez, a Mexican businessman from Chihuahua whose feet were cut off by criminal gangs, left West Texas for his “Pedaling for Justice” effort, a 700-mile bicycle trek through the state to focus attention on the violence in Mexico and its root causes.
Gutierrez, who uses prosthetic legs, sought asylum in 2011 after the criminals punished him for not paying their monthly $10,000 extortion demand.
It’s cases like his, Spector said, that get diluted by activist movements.
“Carlos’ feet are cut off. Those are the real cases we are dealing with, and what they are doing is they are diminishing the importance of that,” he said. “And that’s one of the reasons we are going public with this now.”
Spector, who supports comprehensive immigration reform, said the activists probably have good intentions and “represent the desperation of people that want to get together with their families.” But the tactics, he said, are hurting the overall cause, especially because judges usually deny most asylum cases sought by Mexicans.
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — For more than two decades, Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta insisted he was a U.S. citizen, repeatedly explaining to immigration officials that he was born to an American father and a Mexican mother in a city just south of the Texas border.
Year after year, the federal government rejected his claims, deporting him at least four times and at one point detaining him for nearly two years as he sought permission to join his wife and three children in South Texas.
In rejecting Saldana's bid for citizenship, the government sought to apply an old law that cited Article 314 of the Mexican Constitution, which supposedly dealt with legitimizing out-of-wedlock births. But there was a problem: The Mexican Constitution has no such article.
The error appears to have originated in 1978, and it's been repeated ever since, frustrating an untold number of people who are legally entitled to U.S. citizenship but couldn't get it.
"What this looks like is nobody's ever checked it out. And it is shocking," said Matthew Hoppock, a Kansas City attorney who specializes in federal appeals related to immigration issues.
Saldana's case was finally resolved earlier this month, when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the government's explanation of a "typo" and ruled that he had been a citizen since birth. The error, the court said, had been "perpetuated and uncorrected" by the Department of Homeland Security.
For the 49-year-old laborer and sometime carpenter, the Sept. 11 decision ended a grueling and costly ordeal. After serving a prison sentence for a 1989 drug conviction in Texas, he told authorities he was a U.S. citizen, but was deported in 1992. Between 2002 and 2007, he applied four times for a certificate of citizenship. Each time he was deported, he was separated from his family.
"I have always lived with a fear in my house that whichever night, they'll arrive and arrest me," said Saldana, who was born in 1964 in the border city of Matamoros, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville.
Days after the ruling, Saldana still seethed with frustration for all the rejections, for every time his family had to scrape together money to hire another lawyer. He rued time missed with his children, the low wages he endured as a worker without papers and the responsibilities that fell on his wife, Laura.
Saldana argued that he automatically became a U.S. citizen at birth because his father was an American.
But because his parents were not married, U.S. authorities claimed he should have been "legitimated" by age 21 in a process they claimed was governed by Mexican law, specifically the phantom Article 314.
A 2008 letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services cited the article and said the only way for Saldana to gain legal legitimacy would have been for his parents to marry.
The marriage never happened, but it didn't have to.
Saldana's birth certificate registered with the Mexican state of Tamaulipas includes both his parents' names. The appellate court said that was enough.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, Josue Alberto Rodriguez was allowed to return to the United States last week. He entered Mexico by mistake on August 12, 2013, while trying to pick up his sister at the border.
Good work by El Paso attorney Carlos Spector who was able to facilitate Rodriguez's return.