Friday, May 24, 2024

Immigrant Children Detained

Immigrant children, such as Daniel Guadron, have made the most of the liberty and freedom in US. Guadron, who turned 19 on July 4th, immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of 13. Now a straight- A student at Trenton Central High School in New Jersey, his dream is to go to college and become an engineer that would design bridges.

However, his dream almost came to an abrupt end when one day in April 2008, as Daniel lay in bed, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents came to his home while his mother was at work. They handcuffed and shackled Daniel and drove him 52 miles to  to an immigration detention center in Elizabeth.

Daniel was shocked because he knew his parents had been working with a lawyer to sort out their immigration status. He had a Social Security number and legal permission to study and work while the family’s case was pending.

Their attorney, Keith Sklar, had been trying to win the family legal status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA). The act provides relief for families from certain Central American countries if a family member had been living here for years (as Daniel’s father had). A final decision in the case is scheduled for October 2009.

U.S. detention centers hold on average 350, 000 asylum seekers and illegal immigrants every year as the government decides their cases.  Detainees can be held indefinitely.

Immigration lawyers say that many young people are swept up in raids and locked up because their parents brought them into the country illegally. According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, teenagers are often deported back to countries and cultures they are not familiar with. ICE defends the practice, putting the blame on parents for poor choices.

Pat Reilly, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security says, “The parents made a decision when he was a child. The Department of Homeland Security did not make that decision.”

Sklar soon found out that they had arrested Daniel because of paperwork confusion. According to ICE, the family missed a scheduled court appearance and were therefore considered “deportable and a flight risk”.

After nearly seven months in detention, Daniel was released on parole. He had missed two quarters in school, and his grades as well as class-standing became affected, thus hurting his prospects for college. The college he wanted to attend-the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)—could not process his financial aid application because he is not a permanent resident.

Another school, Mercer Community College, told him he’d have to pay full tuition, $3,824 a semester, unless he had a green card. With the help of guidance counselor Miriam Mendez, Daniel was able to secure three small scholarships, covering half of his tuition costs for Mercer. He hopes by next year to have a green card and be able to transfer to NJIT.

Washington Post

The Trentonian


  1. Wow, this is a really sad story, HOWEVER, as the article clearly states “the family missed a scheduled court appearance and were therefore considered ‘deportable and a flight risk'” I’m sorry, but they need to be on top of their game and not rest on their laurels. I hope they understand that their lives revolve around become permanent residents and not missing court dates. I see this happening everyday, and as bad as I feel for the undocumented immigrants, I stop to think of how inresponsible/careless they can sometimes be.