SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Baljit Singh is back at home with his wife and two happy little boys, after spending a week in jail. But it’s not for good.
“They gave me only three months,” he said.
Three months is all the time Singh has to be with his family, as he awaits deportation.
“I will lose everything. I will lose my family. My kids. My wife. Everything,” he said through tears.
Singh is living in Yuba City as an undocumented immigrant, but he has no criminal record, works as a gas station attendant with a legal work permit, he says. His wife Kate is a US Citizen.
“I thought you just got married and they got a green card,” she said.
Not so for Singh. His attorneys say he wasn’t eligible for resident status, because he entered the country 12 years ago, without inspection.
He then applied for religious asylum based on his good standing as a Sikh. That was denied.
For the last four years, he’s been reporting every six months to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. They cleared him each time, until his last visit.
“They told me, your case is denied,” he said.
“He wasn’t just picked on. They’re picking on everybody now,” his wife said.
Under orders from the Trump Administration, ICE has ramped up deportations of illegal immigrants. But Democratic Congress members say arrests of immigrants with no criminal records are skyrocketing.
“These are men and women who’ve been working, paying their taxes, raising a family, participating in their community, so ICE is focused on the wrong people.” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Davis).
He is calling for Singh’s deportation to be delayed.
But congressional involvement couldn’t stop the deportation of a construction worker at the Travis Air Force Base last week. The father of three American born children had been in the US for more than a decade.
Still, the Singhs aren’t giving up.
“I have hope,” said Singh.
Under federal law, a judge does not have to hear Singh’s case before he’s removed from the country. But Singh’s attorney says he will appeal.
An ICE spokeswoman responded to this story with the following statement:
While ICE continues to prioritize its enforcement resources to focus on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security, the agency’s Acting Director has made it clear that ICE will not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of our nation’s immigration laws may be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by the immigration courts, removal from the United States.
This administration is committed to the rule of law and to enforcing the laws established by Congress. When we fail to enforce those laws, what message are we sending to the millions of people who respect that process and are waiting outside the U.S. now for visas that will enable them to enter the country lawfully.