Deportations on the rise in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) -  The immigration topic has become a hot button issue over the years.  Some fear that they could be taken away from their families or children and they may be your neighbors.

Statistics from the first half of the year suggest a higher number of undocumented immigrants are being arrested than the previous year including a greater number and greater percentage of non-criminal arrests.
Immigration and criminal attorney Tom Campbell says he sees first hand federal authorities being more aggressive and explains that hundreds of his clients were brought to the U.S. as small children, their first memories are in the U.S., and their first language is English.
“And it's not until later that someone says hey you're different you're not from here like everybody else and in their mind this is a difficult concept to understand,” Campbell explained. "ICE agents approach anybody at a school, in a street, at court where I see them almost daily and it's a new world we're living in."
But Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the number of deportations is down compared to the previous year.  Some attribute it to the backlog of cases in U.S. Immigration Court. Campbell sees that when the Department of Homeland Security files motions to stop someone from completing a voluntary departure which allows an immigrant to return legally.
"The government is appealing every single case even if the immigration judge says, ‘Yes you can go back, leave the country, come back, get in line, and do it the right way.’  But what's happening is the government is wasting money on appeals, they're wasting money deporting people to the wrong country who then just come right back,” Campbell noted.

Campbell describes clients from other countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala being deported to Mexico. 

He says they're paying taxes, working for a living, and could be your neighbors.  Plus families are being split and in some cases, children left to fend for themselves.
“Daniel” was one of almost 800,000 people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA; children brought to the U.S. illegally who decades later are now adults and college students.  Daniel says he used to be excited about getting his driver's license, going to UNO, and starting a career but that's being overshadowed by fear of being deported since the Trump Administration rescinded DACA in September.
"The life in the U.S. is the only thing I really know, if I go back to Mexico I would honestly have no idea what I would do,” Daniel described.
KMTV changed the man’s name to “Daniel” to protect his identity.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement says, “ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens.  However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law.”



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