You would think YubaNet founder Pascale Fusshoeller was a threat to national security, the way she was snatched up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and dispatched to the netherworld of deportation.
The reality is that she’s a victim of the Obama Administration’s need to look tough on illegal immigrants so that it can get the Republican-dominated House of Representatives to pass the immigration reform bill approved by the Senate in June. The bill is currently sitting on the back burner.
Fusshoeller has been in the U.S. illegally for almost 15 years, and was caught last week when a California Highway Patrol officer pulled her over for rolling through a stop sign. She had no ID and when her story didn’t check out, she was arrested and held in the county jail until ICE moved her to Sacramento last Friday.
Given the Obama Administration’s penchant for removing immigrants from the country, she was on the fast track to deportation when her lawyer managed to stop the proceedings and get her released. Deportations have increased almost 300 percent since 2001 and people are currently being deported at the rate of 1,100 a day–far more than under the Bush Administration.
This is part of President Obama’s strategy to show Republicans he’s tough on illegals. To get Republican support in the Senate, he agreed to the expenditure of billions of dollars to further fortify the U.S. border with Mexico.
The administration also created the Secure Communities initiative that encourages states and counties to work with federal authorities to identify illegal aliens. Nevada County participates in the program, which no doubt brought Fusshoeller to the attention of ICE.
Her timing couldn’t have been much worse. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill banning state law-enforcement personnel–like the CHP–from holding undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for minor crimes–like rolling through a stop sign–for transfer to ICE. The bill takes effect Jan. 1.
“In reality, (Secure Communities) picks up anyone and everyone who has contact with local police that ICE thinks is removable,” said Angela Chan, a senior attorney at Advance Justice–Asian Legal Caucus.
By all accounts, Fusshoeller is an active, constructive member of the community whose crime was falling in love with an American, Susan Levitz, she couldn’t legally marry until recently.
Despite the halt in proceedings, Fusshoeller’s still in danger of being deported. If that happens and Obama gets his immigration reform bill, her banishment will be considered collateral damage instead of a personal tragedy.
JUST WONDERING: Why was the CHP patrolling in the vicinity of North Bloomfield and Lake Vera Purdon roads last week? Has the county contracted with the CHP to provide patrol services? That would be news to most people.