Community advocates express concern over deportation flights - Not a Hoosier value to separate families

July 15, 2013 | The Indy Channel-RTV6 Link to Article

INDIANAPOLIS - Thousands of people are deported from the country on a monthly basis and it is costing taxpayers millions of dollars as the government carries out deportation flights.

Some local advocacy groups said these efforts don’t represent Hoosier values.

The talk of immigration reform was giving people hope that they could emerge from the so-called shadows, but the talk isn’t stopping immigration officers from enforcing the law.

Zaira Baltazar is a mother. She was brought to Indiana from Mexico as a child.

She has no documentation or a criminal record and was well-aware of the deportation flights that depart from Chicago every Tuesday and Friday.

“Just to go get groceries, going with fear, am I going to see my mom today. Am I going to see my mom today. Am I going to see my husband. Am I going to see my daughter again. It's fearful. It's sad to see relatives in that fear as well," Baltazar said.

Chicago is usually where people in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri or Wisconsin with immigration violations are sent for deportation.

Nationwide in 2012, 409,000 undocumented people were deported, many on charter and commercial flights.

Immigration officials said people convicted of major crimes like murder and dealing drugs were likely to find themselves a seat on a flight.

To that end, the government said another high priority of people targeted for deportations were those arrested for multiple traffic violations such as driving under the influence.

Patricia Alonso is a community activist in Indianapolis who is concerned that people not being convicted of serious crimes, like driving without a license, could be deported.

“It's not a Hoosier value, to deport people or separate families. We don't like to see that sadness in others," Alonso said.

Deportations remain underway as Congress tackles Immigration reform, the sticking points are border security and a pathway citizenship.

A recent survey of Hoosiers found that people, both Republican and Democrat, were open to 
a resolution on the issue.

Immigration authorities were resolved to enforce current laws, though they have little interest in people like Baltazar.

"I would not survive in Mexico. I don't like their laws. I don't know their way of life. This is my home. This will be my home," she said.

Baltazar and many others were keeping a close eye on the immigration debate with some hope of resolution in the future.