Nestor Machi is the latest North Carolinian immigrant ordered to leave the country – this time, after securing a work permit and checking in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than a decade.
Machi – an aviation worker in Greensboro and father of one of the city’s firefighters – brought his family to the U.S. in 1994 from their native Brazil. He took a job and overstayed a 6-month visa, which caught up with him in a 2004 immigration raid.
As Triad City Beat reports, he was allowed to stay in the country to assist the federal government – but that came to an end back in March.
From the story:
He struck a deal with the US Department of Homeland Security to assist the government in investigations into fraud, waste and abuse in the aviation industry in exchange for a work permit. He dutifully showed up for regular check-ins at the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in Charlotte, at first every 30 days and eventually once a year. Aside from overstaying his visa in 1994, Marchi has maintained a nearly spotless record. A check of North Carolina criminal offenses reveals only two traffic violations — a conviction for an expired tag in Guilford County in 2004 and speeding ticket in Rowan County the following year.
Marchi, who suffers from congestive heart failure and diabetes, continued to work to support his family until March 10 when he reported to ICE for his annual check-in. Instead of renewing his work permit, the agency ordered Marchi to come back on May 31 with proof that he’d purchased an airline ticket to Brazil and to leave the country by June 15.
Not exactly the drug lords and “bad hombres” President Donald Trump claimed his administration would be going after as a priority. But it’s become clear in the last few months that deportation efforts are, in reality, much more expansive than that.
President Trump’s immigration policy, outlined in a Jan. 25 executive order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” expanded enforcement priorities to include a wide range of undocumented immigrants, including people even suspected of criminal activity and people who “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency.” By not making particular undocumented people an enforcement priority, the executive order essentially made everyone a priority.
Despite the policy change, ICE has continued to tout its role in deporting criminal aliens. The agency publicized a 5-day enforcement action in southeast Texas last month resulting in 95 arrests involving undocumented people with convictions for homicide, aggravated assault, burglary and drug possession; 13 were for immigration violations. Patrick Contreras, the field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Houston, declared, “Public safety remains a top priority for ICE.”
In contrast, Nestor Marchi’s impending return to Brazil suggests a broadening of the category of people swept up in ICE’s enforcement efforts as the Trump administration attempts to accelerate deportations to meet a loudly proclaimed campaign promise.
“This administration is not going after ‘bad hombres,’” said Jeremy McKinney, a Greensboro immigration lawyer who assisted Marchi in filing a humanitarian appeal. “They’re conducting this quiet and very easy enforcement action taking in non-criminals who voluntarily appear at the immigration office…. The question is one of public policy. We have finite officers and finite planes. This is a matter of priority for the Trump administration. The promise that I heard is that he was going after criminals. Under no one’s definition of criminal would Nestor be included.”
Read the whole story here.