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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Has the Massive Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants Begun?

For the past few days, the media have carried the story of the married but undocumented mother of two U.S.-born children who was arrested and deported back to Mexico, based on a felony conviction for working illegally in an Arizona amusement park several years ago. She had not gone unnoticed under the Obama administration policies, but neither had she been deported. USA Today reports that:
In 2008, she was swept up in one of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's work-site raids targeting the Golfland Entertainment Centers, which operated several water and mini-golf parks. Sheriff's deputies seized hundreds of employment records and later arrested Garcia de Rayos at her house in Mesa. She pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal impersonation, a Class 6 felony, the lowest level. As a result of the charge, Garcia de Rayos was then turned over to ICE, Ybarra-Maldonado [her attorney] said. She spent six months in ICE custody at the Eloy Detention Center, he said.
In 2013, an immigration judge found Garcia de Rayos had no legal stance to remain in the U.S. and issued a voluntary departure instructing her to leave the country, Ybarra-Maldonado said. After Garcia de Rayos appealed the voluntary departure, ICE gave her an order of supervision instructing her to check in yearly, and then every six months, Ybarra-Maldonado said. Garcia de Rayos was scheduled for her six month check-in Wednesday but instead of being told to come back in six months, she was taken into custody, he said.
Now, it turns out that the "impersonation" had to do with a phony Social Security number. Keep in mind that it has long been a bonus for the U.S. government that undocumented immigrants pay into Social Security without having any ability ever to collect payments from the government. And, as nearly as I can tell, Arizona is unique in making such a big deal about this particular issue.

CNN today reports that other deportation raids have taken place throughout the country. Although these have apparently been in the planning stage since before Trump took office, it has been known since the election in early November that the new President was going to look favorably on deportations. Indeed, the situation is unfolding very much in the way that Brian Bennett predicted in the LA Times just a week before the travel ban was imposed. Xenophobia is winning at the moment, and it now seems likely that deportations will continue in the long and almost certainly continued absence of any immigration reform. 


  1. Hi John,

    I worked for the Social Security Admin in the past and I have to tell you how wrong you are about people fraudulently using SSNs. It produces hundreds of hours of work for government employees (which you pay for) to resolve these cases. Also, how would you feel if you were the victim of such a fraud? You file your taxes and the IRS says they are auditing you because you ahem a W2 from some place in Dallas that you did not file, and so on. Oh, and maybe someone opens a bank account with your SSN attached to it.

    John, this is not a victimless crime and there is no net benefit for the US government or the people of the USA.

    1. Hi Duane--thanks for your comment. I appreciate that if an undocumented actually uses a "real" number, there could be problems. However, the data I have seen suggest that most do not. Check out this story- references "Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA), told VICE News that an estimated 7 million people are currently working in the US illegally. Of those, he estimates that about 3.1 million are using fake or expired social security numbers, yet also paying automatic payroll taxes. Goss believes that these workers pay an annual net contribution of $12 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund."