Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio has long taken a tough stance on illegal immigration and has been critical of the current administration’s enforcement of immigration laws. So it should be no shocker that his deputies arrested a 6 year-old girl suspected of illegal immigration on the same day that President Obama announced he would delay deportation of young immigrants.
Maricopa County deputies stopped and detained a van with 15 suspected illegal immigrants and the young girl was among them. None of the other detainees said they knew the girl who told them she was from El Salvador. Her parents or guardians whereabouts are unknown.
The other immigrants were booked into jail. Arpaio said, “We enforce the human smuggling laws here. Every chance I get to take action on my own without turning them over to ICE, I do. Especially with the new policy the president has,” referring to the new deferred action policy.
Human smugglers, often referred to as coyotes, bring large volumes of immigrants across the border and put them up in safe houses until they pay off their debts. They offer passage into the U.S. for Mexicans and South Americans who chose to bypass immigration attorneys and a legal pathway to residency. These immigrants pay thousands of dollars to be smuggled in the country under unsafe conditions.
The girl was turned over to ICE agents so they could locate her relatives.
Although it is tempting for immigrants to enter the country illegally they still face detention and eventual deportation. What may seem like an easier route to U.S. residency, can eventually lead to removal and jeopardizes any future chances of becoming a legal resident. Although an immigration lawyer can, in some situations, stop deportation, this is still a serious threat.
Before any immigrant makes the unsound decision of entering the U.S. without legal documents they should speak with an immigration attorney to determine if they qualify for an HB-1 visa or other temporary work visas, which pave the way or naturalization.