San Diego

Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants Without Criminal Record Increases Nationally

There have been 168 deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants in San Diego. Last year, there were 292 during that same period

Since President Donald Trump took office, deportations of undocumented immigrants without a criminal record have more than doubled.

While Former President Barack Obama's administration targeted immigrants with felony convictions or serious misdemeanor charges, Mr. Trump's administration is taking on a different approach.

According to an article by the Washington Post, more than 5,440 undocumented immigrants with no criminal records were deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)--more than double from last year.

In San Diego though, those numbers have actually decreased.

There have been 168 deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants in San Diego. Last year, there were 292 during that same period.

In a Meet the Press interview, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said immigration agents are also focusing on people with overstayed visas.

“It's time consuming, but at the end of the day they came here with a promise to leave, and we have to track them down and if they're still in the country, and put them in the proceedings to deport them," Kelly said.

NBC 7 spoke with Itzel Guillen, a student at San Diego State University (SDSU), who is also a DACA recipient. 

Guillen said she came to San Diego illegally in 1999 when she was just 4-years-old with her mom and 11-year-old brother. She said she worries her mom, who has worked odd jobs since they came to San Diego, might be deported.

“Having to sit at dinner and talk about these things constantly is taking a toll on our family," Guillen said. "It's a worry that never really goes away.”

She added that the increased number of deportations of undocumented immigrants has created a hightened sense of fear for her family.

When her mom goes out to do everyday errands, like grocery shopping, Guillen said it makes her nervous. 

"Having to hear this anti-immigrant rhetoric of 'send them back or go back home,' at least for myself I don't identify as Mexico being my home because I didn't grow up there," she told NBC 7.

Andrew Nietor, Chair of the local Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said he has been getting a lot more calls recently from people fearing deportation.

Parents who are undocumented are sorting out custody plans for their children in the event they are deported.

"The types of calls we're getting now are so different from the types of calls we got about a year ago," Neitor said. "Dreamers, DACA--coming out of the shadows."

Guillen said her mom was deported, she would have nowhere to go.

"We can't continue to separate families," Guillen told NBC 7.

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