At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s necessary to repeat that when Donald Trump tells us his deportation force is targeting “bad hombres” for arrest and deportation, he is lying to us. Among the tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have been swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since he was sworn into office are Noe Carias, an evangelical pastor, and Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, a nurse at Oakland’s Highland Hospital. Neither have criminal records. Both were ordered to leave the country during their regular ICE check-ins, a disturbing practice immigrant rights advocates have called “silent raids,” and one that has surged in the Trump administration:
“I think first my lord, Jesus Christ,” says the pastor, “then my wife, my children, my church. I think God is going to make a miracle to release me, set me free from this place.”
Carias, 42, is being held at the Adelanto Detention Facility, in California’s high desert, for crossing the border illegally in the 1990s.
The Guatemalan native had been trying to correct his immigration status since 2014, and ICE had granted him yearly stays. That ended this year at his most recent ICE check-in, when Carias was informed he would be arrested and deported.
“I’ve never been arrested by police,” Carias said. “I’m a minister. I have my American citizen wife, being married for 14 years. I have two kids. I support the economy of this country and I paying my taxes. I never commit crime in this country.”
Like Pastor Carias, Mendoza-Sanchez has been here for decades and has U.S. citizen children. And like Pastor Carias, she and her husband, also an undocumented immigrant, were instructed to get their affairs in order and prepare to leave the United States in three months. “It’s supposed to be that if you assimilate to the culture of the country, you pay taxes, you work, you graduate college, you have a better chance,” Mendoza-Sanchez said. “It was supposed to be, but I did all that and I’m still in this situation. I just don’t understand.”