Milwaukee-Area Immigration Advocates Concerned Over Increased Deportations

Jun 21, 2019

Milwaukee and Racine immigration advocates are urging President Donald Trump to reconsider his plan to step up deportations of people who Trump says have been given due process and have been ordered to leave the country.

It’s been about three weeks since a Lutheran student pastor working at a church in Racine was deported. Betty Rendon and her family had fled Colombia during that country’s civil war, which started in the 1960s and only ended within the past few years. Rendon’s asylum claim had been denied by U.S. immigration officials a decade ago, but she and her husband were just recently deported.

Mary Janz, a former pastor in Racine, says leading up to Rendon’s deportation, people wrote letters and held vigils in support of Rendon and her family. "We are crying out for immigration reform. The broken laws that affect so many of our vulnerable people have to change. And we have to be a part of that change," she says.

Janz spoke at a rally held by Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee Thursday. She says Rendon’s story exemplifies what will happen if the Trump administration moves forward with stepped up deportations.

Janz says members of Rendon’s church have been in contact with the deported pastor, who asked them to share this message: "We cry tears of lament but we anticipate change and we ask that you all be a part of it for the long haul."

According to the Pew Research Center, there are more than 10.5 million immigrants living in the U.S. without proper documentation.

In a couple of tweets earlier this week, President Trump said ICE will begin the process of removing millions of undocumented immigrants.

Mark Morgan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, says, "If you’ve come here illegally, you had due process and you’ve been ordered removed by a judge, consequences should be applied, the rule of law should be enforced and you should be removed. It’s not anymore complicated than that. We’re going to do this with humanity and compassion and dignity."

Morgan says that by letting people know what’s happening, ICE hopes undocumented immigrants will report to the agency, instead of forcing ICE to locate them.