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  • George Farag

On Deportation, I’m Not Feelin’ the Bern

Bernie Sanders’ moratorium on illegal immigrant #deportations does not protect Americans and legal residents.


On November 7, 2019, Presidential Candidate Senator #BernieSanders announced his immigration plan. The Vermont senator named the plan “A Welcoming and Safe America for All.” It seeks to undo the vast majority of Trump’s “horrific” immigration policies.


I was struck by his plan on deportations of illegal immigrants. On his first day as President, Bernie would “institute a moratorium on deportations until a thorough audit of past practices and policies is complete.” This means there would be a temporary freeze on all deportations. At first I did a double take. A moratorium on all deportations! That can't be right.


Then I looked for the fine print. I searched for the part where Bernie would clarify that illegal residents who were criminals would be deported as soon as they served their prison terms. Surely kidnappers, murders and rapists would not be protected by a moratorium. He must have mentioned that folks convicted of these crimes would not be welcomed in America. But I could not find this disclaimer and that made me mad.



I have to tell you. A moratorium on deportations would have been sweet music to my ears a few years ago. My biological father abandoned my mother, brother and me without a penny in South Boston. We lived across the street from the D Street projects. We witnessed murders and struggled to survive.


A few years later Sam came into our lives. It took me a while to warm up to him. But his kind nature and big smile won me over. I later understood that he was living in America illegally. In essence my surrogate father lived in America as an illegal immigrant for almost two decades.


There was always an underlying fear of his deportation. During a routine traffic stop our hearts dropped into the pavement. We feared the police officer would ask for his documents. His house was broken into and he refused to call the cops out of fear. His employers did not pay him for his work and there was nothing he could do. For Sam a moratorium on deportations would have been like a deep breath of oxygen after being held under water.


But a moratorium it cannot be at the expense of the safety and security of the American people and legal residents. A full moratorium puts lives in danger. For example, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (#ICE) officers arrested Luis Gonzalez. Gonzalez was an El Monte gang member and convicted murderer. ICE arrested Gonzalez after his released from California state prison. Under current rules he was deported immediately after his ICE arrest.


I do not want murderers like Luis Gonzalez in America. And I know I am not alone. Sam, God rest his soul, would never have wanted to benefit from a program that protects criminals who harmed people.


There can be no moratorium on deportations for criminals. Senator Sanders’ announcement of his intention to implement a general moratorium on deportation is irresponsible and puts American lives in danger. The Senator would do well to revisit his position. He needs to clearly state that a moratorium on deportation would not cover criminals. I’m definitely not feelin’ the Bern.


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