(FOX 11) - The official word from ICE: "Our objective is to finally execute this longstanding court-issued removal order. So, we’ll begin making arrangements to carry out the deportation." That, according to a statement from ICE Spokesperson Virginia Kice. It's not what the family of Gurmuckh Singh was hoping for.
Family and friends say Singh's a good man with no criminal record who has provided for his family as a taxi driver in Orange County and should be allowed to stay in this country.
He came here nearly two decades ago. His wife is a U.S. citizen. He has two U.S. born daughters. One graduates high school this year and hopes to go to college.
But, when Gurmukh Singh and his family went to court his pleas fell on deaf ears. His family couldn't hold back the tears. Singh says, “Last week my case was denied by the 9th circuit and I’m fighting here.” Those who support him blame the attorney at the time, but the bottom line is for all that time he has been fighting that order that’s dogged him. He was arrested in 2013 based on that order when his wife who is a US citizen tried helping him get his citizenship.
Lawmakers like Representative Alan Lowenthal tried to help him get a stay of removal and at one time says he was told by ICE if Singh filed all the paperwork, “Mr. Singh would not be deported. He would not be. It was not their priority.”
Representative Lou Correa was also at the Federal Building. He said, “Mr. Singh has immigration problems. But, Mr. Singh is not a criminal and not a rapist. He wife is an American citizen. His daughters are US born citizens. He supports his family every day as a taxi driver working for the American dream.”
But, when Singh walked into the Federal building for his ICE appointment that American dream became something more of a nightmare. He was arrested. Singh's attorney Monica Glicken says, “The ICE supervisor who spoke to us did explain that under President Trump... he gave orders that any person like Mr. Singh is treated like a priority for deportation regardless of his criminal history or lack of criminal history. Regardless of the fact that Mr. Singh has strong family ties in the United State.”
The emotion hit the family like a ton of bricks:
His eldest daughter, Manpreet, told us, “I’m emotionally broken down. I feel like I don’t have nothing remaining from within. However, I do want to stay strong for my family.” She says instead of college she may have to work to fill in for her dad while he's detained and, perhaps, deported.
ICE officials say the decision to take Mr. Singh into custody was based on that 1999 deportation order. ICE officials say, “Over the last 18 years, Department of Homeland Security databases iindicatesMr. Singh’s case has undergone exhaustive review. And, after examining the facts of Mr. Singh’scase, the courts have all upheld his original removal order." Meanwhile, family and supporters are asking the public to call into ICE and ask he be allowed to stay.
Here is the complete statement from ICE's Virginia Kice:
"Individuals with final orders of deportation, such as Mr. Singh, who have been released under orders of supervision are required to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a regular basis. During these scheduled appointments, the agency reviews the status of their cases to determine appropriate next steps.
ICE’s decision to take Mr. Singh into custody Monday morning was based on a deportation order handed down by an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in 1999. Over the last 18 years, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases indicate Mr. Singh’s case has undergone exhaustive review at all levels our nation’s legal system, including scrutiny by local immigration judges with EOIR, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After examining the facts of Mr. Singh’s case, the courts have all upheld his original removal order.
Regarding ICE’s current immigration enforcement focus, this fact sheet on the DHS website details the federal government’s immigration enforcement priorities. This administration has directed that DHS personnel should prioritize their enforcement efforts to target removable aliens who:
(I) have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(2) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
(3) have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(4) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency;
(5) have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(6) are subject to a final order of removal, but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States;
or (7) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
That said, while criminal aliens and those who pose a threat to public safety will continue to be a focus, DHS will NOT exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of our nation’s immigration laws may be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States."
When we wrote back and asked the next step for Singh, we got this response from ICE:
'Our objective is to finally execute this longstanding court-issued removal order…so we’ll begin making arrangements to carry out the deportation.'
Copyright 2017 FOX 11 Los Angeles: Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Be a citizen journalist for FOX 11 and get paid – download the Fresco News App today.