By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
An over-wide net: It's sure a good thing Congress failed to pass any sort of immigration reform. Why bother, when you can just arrest and deport any Jesus, Jose or Maria? Local immigration lawyer Fernando Dubove says his caseload has surged during the recent nationwide crackdown on plants, employers and workers.
Based on a few recent cases, Dubove has an idea for a Saturday Night Live sketch titled "ICE Gone Wild!" First episode: In mid-April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided Pilgrim's Pride plants in Texas and four other states, arresting 311 workers on identity fraud charges or immigration violations. One of those arrested was Jesus Garcia, a Dubove client who lives near the Mount Pleasant plant. He was hauled off despite his assurances that he was a legal resident and had a green card to prove it. Turns out, they got the wrong Jesus Garcia. Oops. He was later released, and the government conceded it made a mistake.
Next episode: Dubove was waiting for a ruling in a separate immigration case when, on April 20, he found out that his client, Juan Chaires-Hernandez, had been arrested and maybe even deported even though he was out on bond.
Hernandez was pulled over by Border Patrol agents in Louisiana on July 12, 2007, while he and a truck full of other construction workers were on their way to a job site. In the country illegally, he was put in deportation proceedings.
Hernandez was released on bond last summer pending a decision in his case. Dubove argued in a hearing April 18 that the Border Patrol stop was unlawful because the agents lacked probable cause.
Judge Anthony Rogers hadn't issued a ruling when, on April 19, ICE agents nabbed Hernandez, his wife and at least one of their children at their Garland home. Dubove tracked down his client at the federal immigration prison in Haskell. He planned to counsel him not to sign a voluntary deportation order. "That's exactly why [ICE] did this—so he'd withdraw his appeal and sign his voluntary return," Dubove says. "There was no material change in circumstance that would justify the $7,500 bond being revoked."
ICE re-arrested him based on the changed circumstance that the immigration judge indicated that he was going to order the alien removed, which is perfectly legal, says ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok. (An indication isn't exactly the same as an order, but for ICE, apparently, it's close enough.)
To Dubove, arresting Hernandez while his case was still pending is "like shooting someone and then saying, 'Hold it right there, I'll shoot.'"