When it comes to immigration, quite often, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
For instance, over ten years ago, in my capacity as a citizenship and naturalization lawyer, I wrote a series of articles that explained why Congress should pass legislation approving waivers for immigrant veterans who committed certain offenses, related to mental illnesses caused by their military service, making them subject to automatic deportation.
I was shocked to learn about the number of immigrant veterans, facing removal, who were incarcerated at the El Centro, California Dentention Facility, alongside individuals whom I represented. Thus, I endeavored to tell their story, the story of expedited citizenship which never materialized for them.
My father became a naturalized citizen in 1951. From start to finish, the paperwork took less than six months for the government to process.
His journey to the United States, the prelude to naturalization, was fraught with danger and discrimination, neither of which deterred him from his mission to provide a modest level of financial support for his mother and siblings living abroad in poverty.
When he was sworn in, he had no idea that one day he would vote in the presidential elections for John F. Kennedy.
A few months ago, two twin brothers in the mid-60s came to my Riverside immigration law office to discuss a letter they had received in the mail a few days before.
They had been scheduled for an appointment at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to provide proof that they were really born on American soil.
They had been U.S. citizens since their birth over six decades ago. They had no arrests or convictions. They had faithfully paid their taxes each year and owned homes. They were married with adult children.
They now faced possible deportation.
They were born in a Texas border town with the assistance of a midwife.
A revival of an anchor baby attack was on the way.
Most colleagues scoffed at my warnings. They claimed the battle against xenophobic terminology had been won. The era of using mean-spirited terms, like anchor babies, for political purposes had passed.
I was a town crier, a few said, over-reacting to isolated news events.
Sure, just like the building of new detention cells is unrelated to future arrests and deportations.