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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 97 13:26:04 CST
From: scott@rednet.org (Peoples Weekly World)
Subject: Record number of immigrants deported
Organization: Scott Marshall
Article: 21827

Record number of immigrants deported

By Daniel Vila, People's Weekly World
8 November 1998

On Oct. 30, Attorney General Janet Reno and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) chief, Doris Meissner, seemed to bubble with joy as they announced that 111,794 immigrants had been deported during the last fiscal year. This surpassed the government's goal of 93,000 which had been announced at the beginning of the year.

That almost 112,000 figure does not include the more than 90,000 persons who "voluntarily" left the country due to the repressive nature of the new immigration laws which have been implemented in phases this year. In New York City alone, deportations increased by 93 per cent - up from 1,536 to 3,000.

Three years ago the total number of persons deported nationally was less than 60,000. However, INS would still like to increase the number of deportees. They claim that more than 275,000 people enter and remain in the U.S. each year without proper documentation. INS puts the number of undocumented residents in the country at five million.

Not only does the new immigration legislation deny social benefits to undocumented residents, it also discriminates against those that possess legal documentation. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens who have obeyed all the immigration laws and have been paying taxes are now denied proper medical care and other social benefits.

One law which has been used in a particularly over - eager manner to deport documented immigrants is the Anti- terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act which was signed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings. Immigrant rights activists denounced the law initially because it could be used to deport legal immigrants who were not terrorists or a danger to society. That has been the way it has been applied, since actual terrorists have not been targeted by the law. Jesus Collado, a 43-year-old Dominican married to a U.S. citizen, is an example of how this law has been abused. Collado, a small businessman and father of three children ages 24,18 and 14 who were born in the U.S., was arrested in April at New York's Kennedy Airport when he returned from a trip to his native country. He was held in a Pennsylvania jail until Oct. 31.

The reason given for his detention was that 23 years ago he committed a crime and was now supposed to be deported under the new law. He had been convicted of having sex at the age of 19 with his 15-year-old girlfriend, technically a crime although the sex was consenual. He received a one-year suspended sentence and has not committed any other offense in the more than two decades since but this is not taken into consideration under the new law.

Collado was not deported only because immigrant rights organizations, relatives, City Councilman Guillermo Linares and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez intervened on his behalf. Velazquez will propose in Congress next week a "personal amnesty" for Collado. However, many other people have not been as fortunate as Collado and the law remains on the books.

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