The title of this article may sound absurd. In fact, I would not be surprised if this were an article in the satirical fake news Onion, a satirical entity that makes up fake news for the sake of giving you a good laugh. Yet, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, and this article in the Charlotte Observer last week is no joke.
A Mexican woman was arrested for driving with her high beams. She has been in the United States since 1991. She does not have a criminal record. She was placed into removal proceedings during her arrest.
To add insult to injury, her proceedings were scheduled the week after her baby was due. No consideration was given that babies are not always born on the day they are due, but in fact sometimes later. Her baby was born on Thursday, the day before the scheduled date. Immigration and Customs Enforcement finally had her proceedings terminated. She was given Prosecutorial Discretion, where Immigrations and Customs Enforcement can terminate proceedings for an individual if they are not a danger to society, have been in the United States for a significant period, and have many ties to family and community in the area.
I have a few thoughts about this situation. First, since when is anyone ever arrested for high beams? I do not see any white females getting arrested for using their high beams. The officer who arrested her should be suspended not only for poor judgment, but making life miserable for a pregnant mother.
This situation further highlights a flaw in the way Prosecutorial Discretion is used, where ICE is supposed to prioritize not trying to deport people who are not a danger to society and has ties to the community and family. Statistics show that ICE has been unwilling to implement this policy, according to statistics released in June by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
In this case, it took months, and only after a baby was born, for ICE to be magnanimous that it was okay for her to stay, even though she has no legal status. Would common sense not dictate that she should not have been arrested in the first place or placed into removal proceedings? Yet, that is unfortunately the absurdity of the situation and the agreement between local authorities and the federal government, supposedly to catch dangerous immigrant criminals. Since when should removal proceedings be run on the following philosophy – “arrest first, ask questions later, and then maybe, just maybe, if you have a baby, we will not deport you.”