The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is back to work, conducting raids, and deporting people. But did they ever really stop? In recent weeks, officials conducted raids in several states around the country including Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. One such raid included the detainment of a community that you don’t hear about much in the news. Late last week, ICE deported 120 Cubans from various parts of the U.S. and sent them back on a plane to Havana.
The Miami Herald reports that on Friday, ICE officials chartered a plane that held 120 Cuban nationals and sent them to their home state in one of the “largest repatriation missions in recent history.” ICE did not provide information about where in the U.S. these nationals lived or their ages. However, it’s very likely that some of them had lived in the U.S. for decades.
— Monique O. Madan (@MoniqueOMadan) September 5, 2019
The report explores the notion that this Cuban round-up could possibly lead to the deportation of hundreds more. In the past, Cuba had not excepted Cuban exiles, and now the Miami Herald reports all of that has changed.
“Cuba is welcoming these people with open arms. Before there used to be what we called a ‘secret blacklist,’ where maybe two or three Cubans were deported, and nobody found out. But now? Now we’re talking entire airplanes. Something has changed the mind of the Cuban government, we just don’t know exactly what,” Miami immigration attorney Juliana Lamardo told the publication.
Also this week, ICE detained six people in New York, and 39 from various parts of the country. The issue of detainment and deporting is quite complicated, especially for people who are desperate not to return to their native land. Just because a person is deported, no one can be certain what their life will be like once they are there. For the case of immigration activist Cecilia Figueroa, a resident of Utah, she was ordered to return to Mexico last week and failed to self deport. Now she remains at large.
Please help Community Leader Cecilia Figueroa! She was detained by ICE in Salt Lake City, Utah while at her immigration appointment with USCIS. She was released from ICE custody but has her deportation scheduled for Sept 2 to a violent region of Mexico. https://t.co/rHbTxtewcv pic.twitter.com/5hh2cDZPGm
— Mi Familia Vota (@MiFamiliaVota) August 29, 2019
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Figueroa is seeking to pursue asylum status in the U.S. She said that if she returns to Mexico, her life will be in danger.
“People back home think that a newly returning immigrant coming from the United States has a lot of money,” she said in an interview with the publication. She added, “I cannot even fathom that because of my return, my family members might be victims of these crimes all over again.”