Nearly 100 Mexicans have sought to return to the U.S. by Wednesday’s deadline under the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that accused federal immigration officials in Southern California of failing to advise people of their rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Department of Homeland Security in 2013 over the use of a procedure to expel people from the country known as a voluntary return. Under the procedure, people surrender rights to appear before an immigration judge and can’t legally return to the U.S. for up to 10 years. The lawsuit claimed authorities threatened people into accepting the terms.
The government didn’t acknowledge wrongdoing but agreed to changes in California that include a revised form that spells out the consequences and options of a voluntary return, new training and procedures and an information hotline for detainees seeking legal aid. The government also agreed to let some Mexicans return to the U.S. to resume efforts to stay legally.
Of course it did. Because, in the progressives’ view of the Constitution they despise, constitutional protections apply to everybody in the world — except, of course, real Americans.
The ACLU, which had estimated thousands might be eligible for that chance, identified nearly 100 who might qualify to return to the U.S., said staff attorney Gabriela Rivera. Of those, the government has so far approved more than 20 to return and was reviewing other cases.
The number reflects the high bar to qualify, Rivera said. The requirements include being married to a U.S. citizen after entering the country legally, being in the country for at least 10 years and having a spouse, child or parent who relies on them, or being eligible to be shielded from deportation under President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order.
Lucy Sanchez, who came to California in 1996, was on a fishing boat in San Diego’s Mission Bay in October 2009 when authorities asked her legal status. She said they told her she might be jailed for months if she fought to stay and would be released immediately to Mexico if she agreed to a voluntary return. “They didn’t even let me read it, they just said sign here,” said Sanchez, 35, a wife and mother of U.S. citizens.
And some people wonder why Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls.