Where's the Integrity behind DACA? ACTION
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, issued a memorandum to CBP, ICE, and USCIS regarding the Exercise of Discretion with respect to individuals who came to the U.S. as children. The memo indicates that certain young people who were brought to the U.S. as children, know only this country as home and lacked the intent to violate any laws will be considered for exercise of discretion by the various departments. Esmeralda Medina meets the cirteria set forth in the memorandum as she came to the U.S. as a young child, she has continuously resided in the U.S. since she at least 5 yrs. old, she is currently in school, she has never been convicted of a crime and she is now 15 yrs. old. Despite this memo, on or about June 28, 2012, Esmeralda Medina's mother took her to Mexico to renew her visa. Unbeknownst to Esmeralda and presumably her mother, her going to school in the U.S. was a violation of the terms of her visa. Her visa was canceled and she was not permitted to return from, what was supposed to be a short trip to Mexico. Now, Esmeralda is forced to live alone, separated from her parents, housed with people she does not know. There is a language barrier because Esmeralda's primary language is English. Esmeralda lives daily in fear, she has no support system that provides the protection and security a child this age requires. She has no knowledge of Mexico's culture or customs, leaving her vulnerable to the dangers well known of Tijuana. Esmeralda is in Mexico but meets the criteria for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The purpose behind this exercise of discretion is to not punish the children for their parent's mistakes. Here, Esmeralda's mother not only made the mistake in taking her child into the U.S. when she was a small child but made another mistake in taking her child back to Mexico after living here in the the U.S. her whole life just when she was eligible for relief to allow her to continue her schooling in the U.S. Esmeralda's mother will not be permitted to return to the U.S. but Esmeralda has guardians, with consent of her mother, to care for her in the U.S. While there are many strong feelings regarding this policy memorandum and the subsequent process of Deferred Action, the true, innocent victims are those children, who are still children, affected by their parent's actions and the political struggles going on in the U.S. Esmeralda is precisely one of these innocent victims. She was brought to the U.S. as a young child, by no fault of her own. She has become acclimated to the United States, barely speaks Spanish, and now due to the unwise decision of her mother, she again was taken back to Mexico, by no fault of her own, and is faced with the possibility of not being able to return home to the only place she has ever known. This could be resolved if she were allowed to submit a formal application for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The memorandum issued on June 15, 2012 states that if you are encountered by immigration and feel that you qualify for DACA, then at anytime during the process you may request to be considered under this new program. Esmeralda requested for consideration the same day she was encountered by immigration and her visa canceled. I personally, after Esmeralda called hysterical and in fear, found the memo and gave the information to Esmeralda to request. Esmeralda was denied consideration due to the lack of information or knowledge of this program by the staff. I immediately began calling the hot-line numbers provided on the memo for information on situations such as Esmeralda's. I was turned away by ICE's Public Advocates office and the Customs and Enforcement hot-line is intended for detainees only. On August 24, 2012, Esmeralda physically approached the CBP land border at the point of entry, with completed paperwork, requesting Humanitarian Parole. Which CBP has the discretionary authorization to grant on a case by case basis. On August 31, 2012. she was notified that her request was denied. She has encountered agency's suggesting I-601 waivers, different visas and expressing the threat of being terminated if they were to help her. The information given to her about the I-601 waiver and the visas, was incorrect, she didn't qualify for any of the suggestions given to her by two different agencies. This not only provided false hope to an individual whose life is dependent upon hope but it is negligent. The FACT is that your DACA policy was created to prevent the kind of situation Esmeralda is in from happening. The problem lies in the hands of the agency's who have failed to perform their duties in a fair & objective manner, using proper discretion on a case-by-case basis, as directed by you, Secretary Napolitano. I believe it is a fair assumption, as an American, experiencing first hand along side Esmeralda without any clear explanation or actions to say otherwise that "yes" this is a moving story for those who still have the ability to be moved and feel compassion, in a world today that in so many ways trains its people to be careful of allowing emotions to drive you to a purpose for action. Especially law enforcement agencies who on a daily basis are faced with situations where people use emotional plots of manipulation as a driving force to get what they want. However, in this case, we not only have a moving story of a young girl who has been displaced but we also have policy with guidelines and other criteria developed by these agencies themselves to weed out those possible scenarios. The lines of compassion and acting according to their written guidelines have been blurred in Esmeralda's case, creating a "draw" if you will. Our purpose has never been to ask for the agencies to make extraordinary exemptions in Esmeralda's case but to ask them to take the time to review her case in its entirety in a fair & objective manner. As of this date, not one agency has provided Esmeralda with the proper consideration of even properly reviewing her case in an honest, objective or effective manner. They have ignored their own methods outlined by department field manuals, they have ignored policy guidelines created by their Secretary and Directors and they have failed to act in accordance with the longstanding & effective principles in which immigration has successfully used throughout its history. They have stopped short on every level avoiding responsibility and denying their ability to make decisions. So I say again, is it fair to say we have agencies whose own people are operating in an rebellious nature, rebelling against their own lack of knowledge of the immigration system as a whole? Or unwilling to act in confidence of their own abilities for fear of being ridiculed or disciplined by being held accountable to the 'Invisible Methods of Practice" or the "Unwritten Policies & Procedures?" Now Secretary Napolitano, I respectfully request that Esmeralda Medina be considered for deferred action and we are prepared to provide all the records and/or documents per your memo as proof of eligibility. It is now September 7, 2012 and Esmeralda is in jeopardy of ever being allowed the right to her dreams of becoming a Child Psychologist or an elementary school teacher. Esmeralda's current living conditions, is that of fear, isolation, no parental protection by anyone she knows or trusts, lacking the ability to communicate due to language barrier; leaving her vulnerable to the possible violence, this country is known for from kidnapping, prostitution, and the many other crimes susceptible to people who are not familiar with the culture or customs. She has always been encouraged to dream, lets continue empowering her by allowing her to live on the same platform in which she has already achieved so much. This will require your urgent and immediate attention!
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