Since President Donald Trump took office, the administration has maintained its promise to crack down on undocumented immigration. One such immigrant who was affected by the repeal is 39-year-old Jorge Garcia, who was deported to Mexico on January 15th after living in the United States for 30 years because he was too old for the Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Garcia’s parents brought him to the U.S. as a child when they entered the country as undocumented immigrants. He has been facing an order of deportation since 2009, but the Obama administration granted him extensions, allowing him to stay. The landscaper from Lincoln Park, Michigan left his two children and wife at the Detroit Metro Airport on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Immigrants brought to the U.S. as children must be born after June 15th, 1981 to qualify for protection under DACA, and at 39, Garcia does not meet the DACA age limit. Garcia requested that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wait to deport him until Congress passes a replacement for DACA, hoping the new legislation would expand the age range for eligibility. But ICE, which gave the order in November, maintained that Garcia had to leave the country by January 15th.
Garcia could be prevented from re-entering the U.S. for 10 years. Although his wife is an American citizen, this does not provide Garcia with any legal protection. Garcia’s wife told ABC News that the family tried to help Garcia gain legal status in 2005, but their efforts resulted in deportation proceedings.
An executive order issued by Trump after he took office prioritized deporting undocumented immigrants. Garcia has no criminal record, and 28,000 “non-criminal immigration violators” like him were arrested in the first seven months of Trump’s presidency.
The Trump administration has been slow to replace DACA since the Trump administration decided to end the program in September. The deadline to pass a DACA replacement is March 5th, but Trump rejected the most recent bipartisan DACA replacement on January 11th.
Many deportation measures issued by the Trump administration have seemed particularly cruel and unnecessary, and Garcia’s removal is no exception. We need to pass a new immigration bill soon — one that will protect those who are currently too old for DACA. Our hearts go out to the Garcia family in this difficult time.