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Feb 28, 2017 1:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Zeldin Says Deportations Should Be Compassionate And Consider Circumstances, But Not Be Limited By Exclusions

Feb 28, 2017 3:59 PM

As fears of broadening immigration enforcement sweeps have swelled in the local Latino community, U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin said this week that he thinks federal agents should be keeping their focus on “the worst offenders of our laws” and not embark on broader sweeps that could snare generally law-abiding individuals who end up in the spotlight of enforcers for minor infractions or as bystanders.

Mr. Zeldin stopped short, however, of saying there should be federal policy guidance specifically excluding any undocumented immigrants from potential deportation—including those with children born in the United States—and advised families of mixed citizenship that deportation of family members is a possibility to prepare for.

Determining where the bar should be set for targets of deportation orders will be based on the number of individuals whom officials are able to process and remove from the country, he said. Beyond that, “the stories” of each individual could be the arbiter of his or her fate.

“I do believe that priority should be on the individuals who are the worst offenders of our laws and way of life … the worst members of our community,” the congressman said this week. “The key will be what the numbers will be and what their stories are. The person who came to America 25 years ago may have a different story than the person who came six months ago. The person who clearly loves America and wants to be a productive member of society has a different story than someone who doesn’t share that passion—or the person who served time in the El Salvadoran prison system and isn’t working full-time here and committing crimes.”

But he added: “It’s very hard to differentiate one person who is in this country illegally from another. Every nation’s backbone is its rule of law. The law is, if you are here illegally, you are subject to potential removal.”

He did not specify where in the deportation process there should be room for a case-by-case review of someone’s background in a community, or how and by whom that would judged.

Some have said the most recent explanations from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly could open the door to deporting undocumented men and women even for traffic infractions and administrative violations—a step up from recent years, when enforcement focused on felony offenders. The congressman said federal authorities should show restraint but not be hogtied.

“I don’t believe that someone should be deported on the basis of a speeding ticket—that seems like a pretty ridiculous place to draw the line,” Mr. Zeldin said. But he added: “I would encourage anyone who doesn’t want to be impacted by immigration enforcement to follow the law.”

Told of stories rising from throughout the East End of children consumed by fear their parents could be deported while they are in class, Mr. Zeldin said communities should offer support to such children—but that families with undocumented members should prepare themselves in advance for the possibility that one or more might be deported without much notice.

“Our schools and local communities should do what is in our heart to provide the maximum level of support to those children who are in an extremely difficult situation when they are thinking of how the law may impact their family,” he said. “While we are compassionate toward the plight of that child, we can’t just ignore our rule of law at the same time.

“To provide support to that child, should it mean that … every parent of a child is granted amnesty status and is immune from immigration enforcement? We still have to have a rule of law.”

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There is a clear distinction between immigration, and ILLEGAL immigration. Just as citizens are expected to obeys laws (both criminal and procedural), so should be those who wish to immigrate to this country.

You cannot legally even rent out a basement apartment in East End Towns without following proper procedures, applications and fees to do so, or else be subject to penalties/fines. Standards should be held across the board for everyone who resides in the US. If you want to move here, ...more
By Mouthampton (417), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 8:19 AM
There are no exceptions to illegal. We must start some where
By knitter (1604), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 9:39 AM
I ask how would the Israeli government deal with this issue?perhaps Mr Zeldin could get some input and pass it on to us at his next Town Hall meeting.oh any word on the zip code legislation.
By watchdog1 (509), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 11:04 AM
Interesting comment. Do tell , what does Israel have to do with illegal immigration in America?
By Sturgis (505), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 1:19 PM
his next "Town Hall" meeting? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. His "town halls" are only by telephone and have questions pre-screened by Zeldin's staff to make sure they are acceptable. Then Zeldin never answers the questions and he makes it seem like that's ok because the person asking the question doesn't seem to have a problem with the answer. But that's because the person's mic has been silenced. Zeldin mansplains and talks out of both sides of his mouth, just like in this article. Look at his voting record, ...more
By dunes (10), East Hampton on Mar 2, 17 11:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
There seems to be this leverage over human rights and the law. The law comes first. America did not ask for these people to invade our communities and because they did, they must pay the price. I think they did pretty well extorting services while they were here.
Each one should be sued for theft of services.
By Rayman (63), southampton on Mar 2, 17 11:32 AM
A little reality check: America certainly did "ask for >THESE PEOPLE< to "invade our communities". When the California vineyard workers went on strike, the corporate farmers went to the governor for help. Help he did. It was your sainted, then California governor, Ronald Reagan, who opened the floodgates. Then, seeing all the bennies of cheap help, the nation's (lawbreaking) CEO's jumped on the gravy train, and hired without impunity. Law? What law? Let's just deflect by demonizing the poor ...more
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 2, 17 11:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
What does any of that have to do with illegals NOT going home and/or taking steps to become legal following the law?
Mar 2, 17 12:51 PM appended by Mr. Snerdley
My neighbor has some nice things I can't afford. He's let me borrow his nice things and use them. I liked his nice things so much, I decided to take and use them without asking and not return them. Who would have guessed the police came to my door to arrest me. I'm now separated from my family as a result. I should have known better, and now know I am accountable for my own decisions. No one else... ME.
By Mr. Snerdley (392), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 12:51 PM
The difference being that if you were to vanish nobody and nothing would be affected by it one bit.
By em (49), sagaponack on Mar 2, 17 2:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about Zeldin aggressively helping folks to get their status to be legal?
By dunes (10), East Hampton on Mar 2, 17 11:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
God helps those that help themselves. The illegal immigrant population have been convinced by activists and zealots that it is "OK" and have not tried to get their status legal some for decades. Why is it now Mr. Zeldin's problem? Where is all the money that goes to the activist organizations going - demanding everyone "accept" the illegal status....I wonder if Sr. Mary Beth Moore from Centro Coarzon de Maria has her papers - she's from Canada. I can only hope she overstayed her work visa and ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 17 6:17 PM
"The illegal immigrant population have been convinced by activists and zealots that it is "OK" and have not tried to get their status legal some for decades."

How do you expect them to try to get legal status when no pathway for this actually exists?
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Mar 3, 17 9:04 AM
I know people who came here on work visas and continued the process to make them permanent. The zealots and activities should have been taking the millions of dollars for decades and used that to work on a process instead of standing in righteous indignation against the system. If they actually trued to help people they would put themselves out of jobs and Sr. Mary Beth would have to move out of her waterfront estate in Sag Harbor paid by the Church and do some real good in El Salvador
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 17 9:18 AM
Why don't you go after the corporate honchos who depend on immigrant labor to "work on a process"?
Sr. Mary Beth is living out her Christian faith, and may I remind you of the priests and nuns murdered (by the American interests of empire, btw) in El Salvador "doing some real good". Here's a thought: Direct your anger where it belongs. Pressure federal legislators (that would be Zeldin & Co.) to stop taking bribes from the corporate honchos who depend on immigrant labor and like things ...more
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 3, 17 11:57 AM
June Bug, First of all I am not angry. Anger is a wasted emotion.. yes there were nuns murdered in El Salvador decades ago. How many people were murdered in Chicago last year? Sr. Mary Beth is a zealot that has no idea what it means to live in the real world in the US. She is not even from the US. She lives in a waterfront estate in Sag Harbor paid for by contributions. She stands in righteous indignation against the laws of the US bringing the anarchy of El Salvador to the US. I doubt ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 17 12:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
"I know people who came here on work visas and continued the process to make them permanent." Really? Would love to hear more about that process and what percentage of undocumented immigrants it might apply to.

The point is, there is no process to become legal for the vast majority undocumented immigrants, so you can't blame them for not taking advantage of something that doesn't exist.

Also, this type of process is exactly what most activists are fighting for. I don't know why ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Mar 3, 17 1:07 PM
What I said, it that people on legitimate work visas were able to stay legally. The undocumented were hoping that it was "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" and they found out it was not the case. How did they get that idea? From the zealots and the activists. Millions of dollars have gone to these groups and from what I see all they do is "fight" the system - not try to make any real change. Why? because if they did - they will be out of a job.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 17 1:21 PM
Just angry enough to vent on a comment thread, huh?
You're so mad you can't even recognize your emotions for what they actually are.
Reading the Bible doesn't make one spiritual. One has to have self-awareness before that can happen.
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 3, 17 2:32 PM
My comment do not come from a place of anger, but a place of fact-based analyses for fairness and equity. I have a relationship with God not the Church.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 17 4:08 PM
and June Bug, if you haven't figured it out, my other long-term relationship is with the IRS - death and taxes as they say.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 17 4:47 PM
HB - Your original comment "The illegal immigrant population have been convinced by activists and zealots that it is 'OK' and have not tried to get their status legal some for decades" seemed to imply that you thought people from this "population" should have been trying to get legal status. Most of them did not come here on legitimate work visas, so what do you expect them to do?

Also, your argument that "activists" are doing this for money is pretty offensive. Even beyond our community, ...more
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Mar 4, 17 7:30 AM
June calling someone angry is , wait for it, "the pot calling the kettle black".
By Biba (504), East Hampton on Mar 4, 17 6:37 AM
No thinking person can be devoid of anger. There are situations that evoke it in spades, and a positive force when it motivates productive action. To be angry at the least of these and those who help them (all the while denying your anger) is anything but. Key is to recognize it in oneself, to be aware of the genesis, and how to properly channel it.
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 4, 17 10:16 AM
You are right June Bug, I am angry at people who keep telling me that I am angry when I am not.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 17 10:31 AM
Often takes time to become self-aware.
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 4, 17 10:42 AM
And some people, become so self-aware, that they are unaware to the world around them.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 17 11:05 AM
and yes, I can see how my sarcasm may be misinterpreted as anger....
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 17 12:40 PM
Uh, insisting that "zealots and activities (sic)should have been taking the millions of dollars for decades and used? that to work on a process...and that a nun should move out of her waterfront estate (...that would be her home) paid by the church" is hardly "sarcasm".
Don't like self-awareness? How about a little introspection?
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 4, 17 1:27 PM
June Bug, this is where someone who poses as "self-aware" is not aware of what is going on. See my comment below about the $58 million that came from Miracle Gro that went to Hagedon Foundation. No reasonable person would believe that they have put that money to good use. As far as Sr. Mary Beth living in a waterfront estate with the rest of the religious while she allowed the immigrants she represented to live in unsafe conditions in Hampton Bays is disgraceful. They have been in the community ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 17 3:40 PM
SH_RES - It is sad to me that the children end up paying the price for the mistakes of their parents, but their parents need to take responsibility for their actions. What type of message do you send your kids - the laws don't apply to you? If a citizen breaks the law, doesn't he/she go to jail whether or not they have children? I do not know first hand the ratio of illegal immigration versus legal immigration on the east end, but based on the "righteous indignation" of the activists and the ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 17 9:03 AM
And yes, I have zero tolerance for the zealots and activists. $58 million of the Miracle Gro fortune (which ruined the east end environment, but I digress) goes to The Hagedon Foundation to help the Latinos on LI. Where were they in trying to get the illegal immigrants legal? Sandra Dunn has no problem going to a Southampton Town Board meeting and asking them to violate their oath of office and pick and chose who the laws should apply to. I guess that is how she earns her six figure salary.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 4, 17 9:47 AM
Angry with immigrants. Angry with those who minister to them. Angry with a corporation. Angry with a foundation. Angry with Ms. Dunn. Angry with commenters. Lashing out much?
By June Bug (2331), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 5, 17 7:33 PM
How is Zero Tolerance for those that knowingly break the law and those that ask others to violate their oath of office to break the law being angry?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 17 8:26 PM
Stop projecting your anger on everyone else Juney B. Geez, transparent much?
By dnice (2342), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 17 8:52 PM
liberals have no common sense and when debated resort to insults, classic behavior.
By bigfresh (4045), north sea on Mar 5, 17 9:28 PM
We call that "your mother wears army boots" defense.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 17 9:39 PM
libs are all over the internet claiming that obama was responsible for the extraordinary jobs growth numbers.

they are only half right. it's because of obama leaving.
By even flow (808), East Hampton on Mar 10, 17 9:07 AM