Immigration, or more specifically undocumented immigration, is something of a hot-button topic in America.
Seventy-eight percent of voters felt that immigration was an extremely important issue in the 2018 election, according to a November Gallup poll. This held true for both Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning voters, with 74 and 84 percent holding this sentiment, respectively.
With the Trump Administration’s heinous family separation policy and the “dangerous” migrant caravan both dominating the news cycle in recent months, it’s no wonder why immigration is on people’s minds. However, in the wake of these massive issues, it’s important to not let individual stories get lost. Stories such as Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s.
Oliver-Bruno is a 47-year-old man from Raleigh who has lived there for over 20 years, according to WRAL. He is also an undocumented immigrant from Veracruz, Mexico, and was detained at a Raleigh-area U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office by U.S. Immigration and Customs officers.
Oliver-Bruno had been living in a Durham church for the last 11 months to evade ICE, which generally avoids going after undocumented immigrants in churches and other sensitive locations. He made the appointment with immigration services to provide fingerprints and discuss options to avoid being deported. In 2004, Oliver-Bruno was arrested at the border for attempting to enter the U.S. with a false Texas birth certificate. This is his only offense.
Honestly, this is despicable. He’s not doing any harm. He’s lived here for over 20 years and the only crime he’s committed was coming over illegally. The tactics used to ensnare Oliver-Bruno are terrifying. ICE worked in conjunction with USCIS to trap him. That’s not supposed to happen. Oliver-Bruno was doing exactly what he needed to do to become a legal resident, and he was still detained. There’s no point in following the rules when the system designed to help isn’t doing its job, or in this case, when the system is actively working against its intended purpose.
Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are faced with a no-win situation. Either way, it seems like they’re going to end up in ICE custody and detained, deported or separated from their families. Oliver-Bruno followed the rules, and the immigrants at the border followed the rules, but that got them nowhere.
ICE and USCIS engaging in this sort of behavior disincentivizes following proper procedure. No undocumented immigrant will want to go through the proper channels if those channels lead to them being detained and deported.
All this did was provide a disenfranchised community another example of why they shouldn’t trust the government, and with everything that’s happened in the last year, no one would blame them.