The Trump Administration has become infamous for its divisive and racist tactics since the inception of POTUS' campaign and inauguration. Within the span of seven months, their mission has been to deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible; increasing the number of immigration related arrest; and denying federal funds to sanctuary cities—places that won’t hold undocumented individuals for Immigration and Custom Enforcement.
The latest episode of NPR Latino’s, Detained, explores all these changes that have taken over immigration policy, and have affected the lives of many undocumented immigrants and their families.
During the show, they follow Martin Martinez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, who has been living in the U.S. for the past 30 years. Martinez regularly had to go visit ICE’s offices in New York City for a check-in prior to his official deportation. But because his 22-year-old daughter purchased a layover ticket to Mexico stopping in Orlando, he was detained on the spot during one of his appointments, which NPR tagged along for. (For the most part, immigrants who are facing deportation are tasked to purchase their own flights, and it must be a direct flight.)
“You think deportation means taking someone and putting them on a plane,” Camille J. Mackler, director of immigration legal policy at the New York Immigrant Coalition, said. “Oh no, that is the last resort. Most people who are deported are buying their own plane tickets to leave the country.”
Weeks later, Martinez was en route back to his home country. His daughter, accompanied him back there in efforts to help him get settled. Martinez’s story is one of millions of undocumented immigrants' sad, daily realities.
Amid the deportation scare, there has also been a decrease in immigrant Latino communities reporting any crimes done against them in fear of falling into the hands of ICE. Reportedly, there has been a drop by 43 percent in Houston, where undocumented citizens don’t report assault or rape to authorities. It’s also worth noting that since Trump has implemented these rigid changes, ICE officials have been abusing their power.
“ICE enforcement removal officers feel completely unleashed they feel like their muzzle have been taken off, and that’s absolutely what we’ve seen,” added Mackler.
The episode hosted by Maria Hinojosa and producer Fernanda Echávarri also touches upon what happens when detainees are actually in custody at ICE detention centers. Echávarri also chats with a lawyer from The Florence Project, an organization dedicated to providing free legal service to undocumented immigrants in Arizona.
Listen the full episode below.