Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Regina Garcia Cano for the Associated Press reports that Alyse and Elmer Sanchez were thrilled after their "green card" interview, a step in obtaining lawful status in the United States. The officer had agreed that their marriage is legitimate. Moments later, Elmer was detained pending deportation to Honduras, leaving her alone with their two young boys.
The Sanchezes have joined five other couples in a class action accusing federal agents of luring families to marriage interviews in Baltimore, only to detain the immigrant spouse for deportation. Federal regulations allow U.S. citizens to try to legalize the status of spouses who have been living unlawfully in the country. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved 23,253 provisional unlawful presence waivers, which spouses, children or parents of citizens need before leaving the country and applying to rejoin their families legally.
But the American Civil Liberties Union says a growing number of officers have "cruelly twisted" the rules by detaining immigrant spouses following marriage interviews. The ACLU is pursuing a similar complaint in Massachusetts and says dozens of detentions also have happened at field offices in New York, Virginia, Florida, Illinois and California.