The message for immigrants is very clear: there is a new sheriff in town
This is what the family of Roberto Beristain has had to understand by force, after the deportation of the father of family, founder of a business and immigrant of Mexican origin, who arrived in the country more than 20 years ago.
Roberto Beristain came to the United States as an illegal immigrant, in search of a better future than the one his native country, Mexico, could offer. While working as a busser, he met his future wife of Greek origin, Helen, who gained citizenship more than 16 years ago, and with whom he now has three American children.
But 17 years ago, Robert and Helen, who was then pregnant with their first child, traveled to visit Niagara Falls. On their way, they took the wrong exit, and ended near the border with Canada. When asked for his papers in the border checkpoint, and to determine that he did not have any, Roberto had to sign an order of commitment that sentenced his retirement from the American territory in a period of 60 days.
By failing to fulfill his commitment, he became subject of a "final order of removal" in front of the law, which implied an immediate deportation.
According to Helen, Roberto had to decide between abandoning his wife during a high-risk pregnancy - which endangered both her life and that of their baby - or leave the country and return to Mexico. "He chose us. What would another man have done in his shoes?” said his wife.
Since then, the Beristain family has spent more than $ 45,000 on legal assistance to achieve normalization of Roberto's status. Just three years ago, they were able to obtain a temporary exclusion from the deportation order, obtaining as well a work permit, a social security number and a driving license for Roberto. The commitment was to make an annual check with the immigration office to verify that he had committed no crime.
According to his wife and his close friends, Roberto has never committed a crime. "His only mistake has been to stay in the United States because he loves this country," says his wife.
During his annual checkup in February, Roberto was arrested and his deportation proceedings began.
The case of Roberto Beristain is one of the many paradoxes covered under the new executive order of President Trump, who promised during his presidential campaign that he would significantly reduce the income of illegal immigrants during his first 100 days. Both his wife and his friends voted for the new president.
According to the CBS report, since the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has claimed to detain 21,000 undocumented immigrants, of whom 5,000 had no criminal record, as is the case of Roberto. That would be twice as many of those deported during the same period in 2016.
During the Obama administration, the executive order of immigration determined that ICE should focus on those illegal immigrants who had a criminal record for "serious crimes and misdemeanors", and whose case was properly justified by the agents, especially if it was a person whose relatives were American citizens.
But Trump's executive order has facilitated the deportation of those who did not have a criminal record, including those who had been carriers of a "final removal order."
Robert and Helen own a steak house restaurant in Indiana, and many of their clients were supporters of Trump's campaign: "(Robert) is not one of the people Trump promised to deport," says one of them. "Why would you deport someone like Roberto, when you have so many other bad people out there? It just doesn’t make sense".
CBS was not able to get an interview with ICE, but in its conversation with James Carafano (Heritage Foundation policy expert and Trump transition team member), the argument was clear: “It's not that they're going out and they're looking for people who have done nothing. But that we have an obligation to enforce the law. And if somebody comes across our path who's broken the law, then you know what, they're probably going to go, 'cause the message is: there's a new sheriff in town. And the law's going to be enforced".