Lizbeth Mateo has spent the past 15 years living as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. Now, after returning to Mexico to visit her family, she and two other undocumented immigrant youths will try to return to America as a dramatic test of U.S. immigration law.
“I came to Mexico knowing that the U.S. might not let me back in,” Mateo said in a video posted by the campaign’s YouTube, below.
The stunt is part of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s (NIYA) Bring Them Home campaign. Domenic Powell, one of the Alliance’s founders, refused to tell the AP when and where they planned to re-enter the U.S. He says they want to see how Customs and Border Protection will react to the situation. If the trio are allowed back in, it’s a good clue as to how the government will handle undocumented immigrants with legitimate ties to the U.S. — even if immigration reform fails to pass.
The U.S. doesn’t have to grant their re-entry, but it may feel pressured to do so.
In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would allow DREAM Act-eligible youth — i.e. undocumented youth raised in the U.S. — to apply for “deferred action,” which grants them protection from deportation, though that’s just a policy change, not a law.
Last week, eight House Democrats demanded, along with others in a petition, that the President halt deportations, specifically to protect undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for a long time.
On the other hand, 500 angry callers flooded the Senate’s phone lines the day it passed immigration reform. And just two days ago, protestors marched on the White House against “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.
Deportations reached 400,000 in 2012, more than double the number seven years ago, according to the AP. NIYA puts the number, too date, at 1.7 million. To the organisation, that numbers represents 1.7 broken families.
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