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“Help Two Bruce Monroe Elementary at Park View families facing deportation”

by Prince Of Petworth March 8, 2017 at 4:15 pm 27 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Two families with children enrolled in a local elementary school, Bruce Monroe Elementary at Park View (BMPV), are currently facing deportation proceedings and are approaching the community for help.

A fund has been established to support the families so they can retain an attorney.

We’re urging neighbors to please consider donating! Any money not spent providing legal assistance to BMPV families will be donated to the CAIR coalition and CARECEN in equal parts.”

  • NoTrumpFan

    I hate Trump as much as the next person, so this is going to sound strange, but do you have any reason to believe that this family didn’t come to the US legally? I know that there is an argument to be made that the violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras some of the worst in the world, but does that mean everyone who comes here should be expected to be able to stay if they get a lawyer?

    Just wondering how sustainable it is to have “go fund me” requests for every undocumented immigrant in our community?

  • NoTrump Fan

    I hate Trump and his immigration policies as much as any sane/compassionate person, but I have to wonder if this is the way to go about addressing it.

    1) is there any reason to believe that the families didn’t break the immigration laws when they came here and thus legal action will probably just prolong the inevitable? Some of these immigration lawyers actually know this, but are happy to take immigrants $ !

    2) I assume the families are from Central America where they are claiming asylum based on the violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. But again, I wonder how many cases are actually successful unless there’s documented, personal evident of a threat v. just saying these countries are the must violent in the world?

    3) in the long run, doing “go-fund-me” campaigns like this seems unsustainable…

    Sorry for being debbie downer about this.

    • Columbia Heights resident

      1) not important because no human is illegal

      2) just living in these countries in central america can be extremely dangerous because of a wide variety of factors (government corruption, narco-trafficing, gang violence, environmental pollution) that were all caused by U.S. foreign policy

      3) They are better off hooking up with the lawyer groups posted up at Dulles, they do legal representation pro bono these days, and may very well be willing and able to help folks in these people’s position.

      • Rob Dehm

        I am a bleeding heart liberal, and also have a significant pro bono practice handling asylum cases for those with legitimate fears of prosecution, and that is why the argument that “no human is illegal” makes my head spin when I see it. It is the least helpful narrative in the whole realm of immigration law. Whether the act of breaking a law makes one illegal, is for linguists to debate and for law review articles. While you may disagree with the praising as pejorative, the fact is inadmissible aliens and illegal immigrant are well used and accepted definitions in the code.

        To bring this topic back to the here and now, a lawyer can only do so much, but they are important. Even if a person or family is here illegally, they are afforded certain due process rights by virtue of being on US soil, despite not being a natural born citizen(s). However, one does not have a right to remain in this country, and it is in up hill battle to climb when in the system. (side note, all of the progressive Scandinavian countries also deport a significant number of individuals every year least you think this is only a US centric boondoggle). Judgements of deportation are significant, but it is the actual enforcement under the Trump administration that is at issue. Many an immigrant here illegally has orders for deportation yet our system losses track of them or gives individuals additional time to sort out their affairs. Now it seems, people may no longer be afforded those opportunities.

        There are many agencies and law firms offering pro bono assistance in DC, one of the advantages of having so many lawyers here. Contacting the DC bar, is the best bet to be transferred to appropriate individuals.

      • dcd

        First, nowhere did NoTrumpFan refer to any human as illegal – s/he was care ful to use the politically acceptable term “undoucment immigrant” and “come to this country legally,” so you’re refuting an assertion s/he didn’t make. Second, I agree with Rob Dehm. As he points out, the terms illegal immigrant and illegal aliens have commonly accepted definitions (it’s not my area, so I’ll take him at his word that there are definitions in the US Code as well). For decades, the term “illegal immigrant” has meant “in this country without complying with our immigration laws” – in other words, illegally. The reflexive “no human is illegal” retort is trite, non-substantive, and does nothing to advance the actually discussion that needs to take place – what do we do with people who have not complied with the laws of the United States when emigrating => immigrants who are here illegally => illegal immigrants.

  • NoTrump Fan

    Sorry for double (now triple) posting!

    • KR

      I think you answer your own question. Does it matter how they got here in the face of that violence? If it does to you, don’t donate. But I think we are (or used to be/could be) better than that and will be donating.

  • Mickey’s BFF

    Do you have an attorney in mind? I would like to reach out to an immigration attorney to ask what can be done. If there is recourse for the families, I would suggest that they take the cases on a pro bono basis. Can you give some general details about the families, such as country of origin, country of birth and ages of the children, how long they have been in the U.S., parents’ employment, criminal records?

  • DC Denizen

    A lot (not all) of recent immigration enforcement actions have focused on those who have committed a crime. Is that the case here?

    • textdoc

      Actually, under Obama, immigration enforcement was prioritized to go after violent criminals. Under Trump, it seems to be a much wider sweep — almost indiscriminate.

    • ymous

      As I understand it, one really important distinction between Trump and Obama on this issue is that, under Obama, certain criminal acts were not considered “crimes” justifying prioritized deportation. For example, basically all undocumented immigrants who work over the table (i.e. on the books, paying taxes, etc.) do so using false social security numbers. Using a false social security number is a crime. Under Obama, however, if using a false social security number was an undocumented immigrant’s only criminal act, he or she would not have been considered a “criminal” for purposes of priority in deportation. Trump’s executive orders on immigration eliminate this distinction and classify all individuals who commit (or are suspected of committing) any criminal act, including the use of a false social security number, as “criminals.”

      So, under Trump, virtually all undocumented immigrants who work on the books are “criminals” and subject to prioritized deportation.

      • dcd

        This is just one of the cruel catch-22s inherent in this situation. Conservatives howl that “the illegals” are consuming services without paying taxes (set aside for a minute that this isn’t true in any circumstance). But when undocumented immigrants obtain employment above-board, using a fake social security number and subjecting themselves to federal and state income tax withholdings and payroll taxes that they have no hope of recovering, they set themselves up for being deported as “criminals.”

        • Anon

          Serious question, because I honestly don’t understand. When someone’s ss# is used, how does the affect the person who legitimately has that ss#? If two people are using it to file at the end of the year, wouldn’t the IRS or legit person catch that? I know how it can affect credit, for example, someone used my husband’s for medical and to open a cell phone, but using it for wages/taxes?

        • northeazy

          No Catch 22–just don’t enter the nation illegally.

      • textdoc

        Thanks for the clarification, ymous.

  • meerswan

    anyone have contact information for the person seeking help? i’m a psychologist specializing in immigration/deportation situations–I might be able to help.

  • Marjorie Harrison

    Can I drop off a donation at the school?

  • NoTrumpFan

    I’m glad this discussion didn’t degenerate into us against them name calling.

    Reading through the comments I’m rethinking a donation myself. I guess my original reasoning for posting was just the way the the OP seemed to make this issue sound so simple. But I agree that from a purely humanitarian/charitable perspective it would be right to donate. I hope my original comment didn’t dissuade anyone from giving, but rather made folks think a little about how complex this topic is – even if we assume we’re politically all on the same liberal page.

    Take care!

  • northeazy

    Huge Trump fan here. Reading some of these comments warms my heart. I love seeing how even self-identified “bleeding heart Liberals” recognize that borders and duly passed and judicially scrutinized immigration laws signed by the executive still mean something to people in this county. My only question for the “no human is illegal” crowd–how then do you decide who gets in and who doesn’t? Do you suggest continuing the survival of the fittest type system as we have now? If you don’t die on your way to the US, you’re good to go? Or do you suggest just straight up allowing every and anyone who expresses an interest to move here be permitted?

    • Anon X

      I guess I just dont understand exactly what problems illegal immigration pose. I am friends with a family where the man entered the country illegally (through an excruciating ordeal), the woman immigrated legally, the kids were all born here and are citizens.

      What good is it doing to deport the one parent who is illegal? He is technically a criminal, but why does that matter? His wife owns a business, he contributes to the economy and to our society and we would be worse off collectively if he’s no longer able to contribute but instead is sent back to his home country where thousands of people are murdered every year.

      Its just not a good use of federal resources to target immigration enforcement broadly.

      Violent criminals should be punished and to the extent that deportation will be a deterrent then it should be used. But, I’d rather have the family I know in tact and in this country rather than most of the people I meet on a daily basis.

  • Victor

    If I commit a crime by break into someone’s home without being invited, will you have me financially to get an Attorney? I am sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for people that committed a crime crossing our porous borders illegally. The United States cannot continue to take in or welcome the world’s poor. We must start taking care citizens of the United States.

    • Victor


      If I commit a crime by breaking into someone’s home without being invited, will you help me financially to pay for an Attorney? I am sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for people that committed a crime crossing our porous borders illegally. The United States cannot continue to take in or welcome the world’s poor. We must start taking care of United States citizens. If not, we’re doomed……

  • Sarah

    I sent this post originally to popville and have been overwhelmed at the enormous outpouring of community support for the affected families, the fund has reached 65% of its goal in just a few short days.

    Having representation is no guarantee of success, it simply ensures that all of the potential rights and claims that these children have to legally remain in the US are raised in immigration court (e.g. asylum claims, etc). The impact of representation can be profound. For unaccompanied minors, chances of avoiding deportation jump from 15% to 75% with representation. For women with children, the odds of avoiding deportation are lower, but the impact of representation is far more pronounced. (1.5% to 26%)

    Also, I hope this crowdsourcing campaign calls attention to the enormous need for increased, sustained funding for organizations providing legal services to immigrants in our area, which are completely overwhelmed by the current level of requests. If you were moved to contribute to this campaign (or did not contribute because you felt it was unsustainable), I hope you will follow up by making a sustained monthly gift to organizations like the CAIR Coalition, Carecen, and other groups supporting immigrants rights in our area, so that our local children will not have to fall back in the future on private attorneys (even those who generously offer to substantially reduce their fees) and the spark of kindness human kindness that flashes up temporarily when a novel troubling story makes its way across the internet..

    • Sarah

      Correction, the odds of success jump from 15 percent to 73% (I had rounded to the nearest 5, but did not do so for the subsequent figure, so the original post might be misleading). Here is the citation: http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/371/


    A lot of these people leave because of a death or life situation. If anyone feels compel to donate, but are not sure because they don’t see this as a way to address the problem or whether it’s sustainable, then I recommend that you donate to this death or life situation:


    This is a prime example as to why people leave countries like Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras. This person lived a happy and modest life but a tragedy, that could happen to anyone, has forsaken them. These countries don’t have the social safety nets that the USA does. Some rather leave and risk their life than stay there and possibly die because of situations like this, violence or corruption.


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