The Boston Globe: Local deportation underscores wider immigration debate

From The Boston Globe:

by Maria Sacchetti 

Isidro Macario arrived at Logan International Airport before dawn Tuesday with a plane ticket to Guatemala and hopes for one last chance.

Bundled in a parka, the 48-year-old landscaper stepped into the glaring lights of the Delta terminal. His wife carried his Bible. Four of his sons stood somberly off to the side. Three are American citizens and Macario himself had lived in the United States for a quarter-century.

Macario carried records he hoped would spare him from deportation. Immigration officials had ordered him to leave because of a 1995 misdemeanor drunken driving conviction —part of efforts by the Obama administration to deport immigrants who have violated immigration laws.

“They’re separating me from my family, from my children,” he said in Spanish as he waited for an official to escort him to the plane. “What am I going to do?”

After immigration roundups this month sparked international outcry, federal officials and the Chelsea police chief said that no one had been arrested in New England. But the separation of the Macario family reveals that deportations are continuing, even for longtime immigrants who advocates thought were safe after President Obama’s 2014 declaration that the United States should focus on “felons, not families.”

In fiscal year 2015, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 235,413 people, down from 315,943 from the year before, and the agency reported that a majority of those removed had been convicted of a crime. The case of Macario shows the emotional backstory of some of those ordered to leave the country, and the legal reasoning behind the controversial decisions.

“We’re talking about a parent, a humble worker who has a whole church in front of him,” said Patricia Sobalvarro, executive director of Agencia ALPHA, a Boston nonprofit. She said that Macario is not a danger to the public.

Read the full article from The Boston Globe.