USA deportations of Europeans and Britons on the increase

Published:  11 Jul at 6 PM
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Irish, British and other European expatriate communities in the USA are worried over the Trump crackdown on illegal immigration.

Traditionally, illegal immigrants and overstayers from Europe hid in plain sight whilst Asians, Latin Americans and others were sent packing, but the new order in the White House is causing concern amongst the country’s foreign communities. This fiscal year, the total number of Europeans cited for deportation is set to surpass last year’s total, according to figures released by the USA Immigration and Customs office.

It seems that no-one’s excluded from the hunt to track down illegal immigrants, with one HIV-positive Russian asylum seeker who overstayed his visa already facing being sent back to his home country. In Chicago, home to huge Irish and Polish communities, local community groups are reporting increases in the number of enquiries about citizenship-related and immigration services from immigrants seeking legal protection.

In Boston, another hub for the USA’s Irish community, one well-known 14-year visa overstayer from the Emerald Isle was sent back to Ireland last week, increasing the fears of the community as a whole. According to the city’s Irish International Immigrant Center spokesperson, people are lying low and are genuinely very concerned. The message, he added, is that it can happen to anyone.

Across the nation, immigration lawyers are urging expatriates to make sure they are aware of their rights should they be stopped by police or immigration officers. They’re also advising families to make certain their American-born children are taken care of should their parents be detained. According to the president of the Russian-Speaking Community in the Bronx and Manhattan, community organisations have no real idea as to who has been deported, nor the reasons behind the deportation, meaning those under threat are unable to have attorneys represent them.

Reactions from various expatriate communities across the country include the necessity to keep one’s head down, don’t answer knocks on the door if no-one is expected and, above all, attempt to regularise your situation legally. Lawyers complain the Trump stance on immigration is sweeping up taxpaying, hardworking immigrants whose children have been born in America and are US citizens. They also point out that wasting resources on those who are no threat to public safety harms law enforcement against those who are. It’s been noted the previous administration focused its immigration enforcement on serious criminals.
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