Politico: Number of Migrant ‘Voluntary Departures’ Soars

MCALLEN, TX - JANUARY 04: Immigrant families walk to a Catholic Charities sponsored "immigrant respite center" before taking a bus from the border into the interior of the United States on January 4, 2017 in McAllen, Texas. They had been detained, processed and released by the U.S. Border Patrol pending …
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Politico is touting a trickle of “voluntary departures” by illegal migrants back to their homelands, even as Central Americans use loose border rules to flood into the U.S. labor market.

“The number of immigrants who have applied for voluntary departure has soared since the election of Donald Trump, according to new Justice Department data obtained by The Marshall Project,” says Politico. It continued:

Last year, voluntary departure applications reached a seven-year high of 29,818. In the Atlanta court, which hears cases of Irwin detainees like Zamarrón, the applications multiplied nearly seven times from 2016 to 2018.

But the “surge,” up to almost 30,000 in 2018, is a tiny share of the nation’s population of illegal migrant workers, estimated to be at least 8 million. That total is 266 times the 29,818 people who agreed to a “voluntary departure” instead of forced deportation.

Moreover, the volume of departing migrants is a trickle compared to the flood of migrants entering U.S. communities.

In April, which is just one month of 2019, roughly 109,000 migrants were registered as they crossed the southern border. Several tens of thousands of other migrants began overstaying their visas or successfully sneaked over the border, while the federal government also welcomed a vastly larger flood of legal immigrants, temporary visa-workers, and work-permit workers.

Politico‘s article led with a sympathetic portrayal of one illegal immigrant who agreed to accept the plea deal of “voluntary departure” once immigration officials began the process of deporting her. But the article did not mention the many ordinary Americans who have lost jobs, wages, or homes, or who have been injured or killed by the establishment’s tacit support of illegal migration. According to Politico:

Alejandra Garcia Zamarrón, a mother of three American citizens, had lived in the United States for nearly 20 years when a police officer pulled over the unregistered vehicle she was riding in.

Georgia was her home, the place where she’d lived for years and raised her family. But when she found herself locked in the Irwin County Detention Center, she had few options to stay. She’d been brought to the U.S. as a child, but her protected status as a childhood arrival had expired. And she had given a fake name and date of birth to the police officer who stopped her, a misdemeanor that put her at greater risk of deportation.

Zamarrón, 32, initially vowed to fight her removal from the U.S. as long as she could. But as the months in detention dragged on, she changed her mind and asked for “voluntary departure,” which would allow her to leave the U.S. without a deportation on her record. “My family decided the best bet was for me to leave and fight from the outside,” Zamarrón said in a phone call from the detention center, before she returned to Mexico in November.

But there are many other examples of “voluntary departure” worth noting.

The Hindustan Times reported in February 2019:

Nineteen Telugu students who had enrolled with Farmington University, a fake institution floated by the federal police in Michigan, US, to expose a “pay-to-stay” racket, have been granted permission for voluntary departure to India by a local court.

In all, 20 students have been under detention at two centres – 12 at Callahan County detention centre and eight at Michigan Monroe detention centre — since January 31. Of the 20, three students – two Telugus and a Palestinian — got the departure permission last Saturday. The remaining 17, all Telugus, were granted the permission by a Michigan court on Tuesday.

KENS5.com reported in July 2018 from Texas:

A Mexican national in the Bexar County jail on murder and arson charges connected to a June 18, 2018 incident was previously released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

20-year-old Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia is accused of killing 20-year-old Jared Vargas at an apartment on Jones Maltsberger Road on June 18. Police say he set the body on fire at an apartment. ICE confirmed at the time there was an immigration hold on Garcia, which indicates that he is in the country illegally.

The full statement from ICE reads:

On June 18, 2018, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a detainer with Bexar County (Texas) Jail on Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia, from Mexico, following his arrest the same day by San Antonio Police Department on murder and arson charges. Esquivel-Garcia remains in state custody pending the outcome of his criminal case.

ICE first placed an immigration detainer on Esquivel-Garcia on March 1, 2017, after his criminal arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and another misdemeanor. Esquivel was placed into removal proceedings. He posted bond granted by the immigration judge and was released from custody. On May 21, 2018, an immigration judge issued him a voluntary departure, contingent on posting a departure bond. On May 25, when Esquivel-Garcia tried to pay his bond, ICE turned him over to Bexar County after discovering that he had an active arrest warrant for obstructing highway. Four days later, Bexar County transferred Esquivel-Garcia back to ICE, and the same day he posted the departure bond that was set by an immigration judge May 21.

Before departing ICE’s office May 29, 2018, ICE deportation officers instructed Esquivel-Garcia to leave the United States by July 20, 2018, as imposed by the immigration judge’s voluntary departure order.

In September 2018, the Guardian reported:

Armed with guns and backed by helicopter air support, more than 100 US immigration agents swooped on the employees of Fresh Mark meat packaging plant on a summer day in the small Ohio town of Salem.

The huge raid on 19 June resulted in 146 arrests, most of them Guatemalans suspected of being in the country illegally, in a show-of-force raid that likely brought back violent memories of the militarized country many had fled years ago for new lives in America.

An Ice spokesman said he could not provide details on what had happened to the 146 people arrested in the raid. Some are believed to still be in detention, while a few have returned to Guatemala through “voluntary departure.”

In February 2018,  KSHB reported from Kansas City:

ICE gave the following statement to 41 Action News:

Syed Ahmed Jamal, 55, from Bangladesh, initially legally entered the United States at Los Angeles in August 1987 on a nonimmigrant visa. After he overstayed that visa, a federal immigration judge allowed him voluntary departure until Aug. 26, 2002. He abided the judge’s order and departed for Bangladesh on July 24, 2002. 

Three months later, Jamal legally re-entered the United States at Cincinnati, Ohio, on Oct. 25, 2002, on another nonimmigrant visa. He again overstayed his visa, and a federal immigration judge allowed him voluntary departure until Oct. 26, 2011. However, Jamal violated the judge’s order and failed to depart the United States, and the voluntary departure order instead became a final order of removal (deportation).

Politico‘s article does not mention those example of “voluntary departure” in the article about Zamarrón.

Nor does Politico or the authors at the Marshall Project seek to follow the money through the nation’s immigrant labor supply.

During Zamarrón’s two-decade stay in the United States, she was one tiny drop in the establishment’s ocean of cheap labor which helped ensure that Americans’ wages stalled and that Wall Street’s value accelerated, that housing prices spiked and then crashed, and that productivity grew a snail’s pace.

Washington’s establishment created the labor supply and it welcomed this resulting cheap-labor bubble — but now recoils as President Donald Trump tries to restore some balance to the earnings from wages and capital gains, and to the employment of native youths and migrant workers.

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including roughly one million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap foreign white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment from the heartland to the coasts, explodes rents, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest and rewards investors for creating low tech, labor-intensive workplaces.



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