Any parent who has witnessed his or her child suffering from a medical ailment understands how heartbreaking it can be. Most Louisiana parents would do just about anything to get their sick children the help they need to get well again, even if that means admitting them to hospitals for surgery. One child, age 10, recently underwent surgery in another state for removal of her gallbladder. From there, rather than being sent home to recuperate with loving family members, she was ordered into immigration detention.
When a person emigrates to Louisiana from another country of origin, it may be to escape violence or abject poverty conditions. Fleeing to the United States is often a last ditch effort to survive and strive for a better life. U.S. immigration law is quite strict regarding those who enter the nation without documentation, however.
Some time ago, a high court in another state ruled that local law enforcement agencies could not hold an immigrant in detainment based solely on a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. One man's immigration detention made the news in Louisiana and throughout the nation at the time, which is what ultimately led to that ruling. The same man wound up being detained by ICE for several months as officials tried to secure his removal.
Many families in Louisiana have had one or more of their members taken away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. Stories of aggressive arrests and children watching in horror from the sidelines as events transpire are rampant in neighborhoods, schools and communities where many immigrants live. Most advocates agree that immigration detention situations can have lasting, negative effects on children who witness them.
It's hard to focus on the future when you are constantly looking over your shoulder, fearing deportation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. If you are a Louisiana Dreamer, i.e., children and young adults who have been covered under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, your life here in the United States hangs in the balance.
U.S. immigration laws are not set in stone; in fact, these laws are constantly evolving and a number are likely to change in the near future. Immigration detention is a process that has also gone through many changes in recent years. Most recently, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is slated to end in the near future, causing many Louisiana immigrants to worry.