Just weeks after inviting Immigration and Customs Enforcement representatives to a community event, an illegal immigrant and activist was arrested and now faces deportation.
Roland Gramajo, 40, organized the town hall in Sharpstown, Texas on Aug. 18 to address residents’ fears about immigration enforcement. Last Thursday, immigration agents arrested the Guatemalan father of five near his home, The New York Times reported.
ICE said in a statement that Gramajo had committed a felony by reentering the United States after being deported to his native Guatemala in 2004. The agency has reinstated his prior deportation order.
Gramajo’s lawyer, Raed Gonzalez, slammed the agency in response to his client’s arrest.
“ICE is going after community leaders, people helping people, instead of human traffickers, drug dealers, really serious criminals,” he told the Houston Chronicle.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner once called Gramajo a “true leader with an exceptional drive to improve the quality of life” in the city.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-TX, called Gramajo a “leader in the #Houston #Latino community” and blasted his arrest.
What’s radical is seeing someone like Roland, who only knows this country as his home, at risk of deportation.https://t.co/BKbsn0JZWx
— Rep. Sylvia Garcia (@RepSylviaGarcia) September 7, 2019
Garcia, who was in attendance during the community event organized by Gramajo last month, reported seeing “suspicious” white men taking photographs and videos of the predominantly Hispanic crowd, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Roland Gramajo and the Trump administration’s immigration policy
President Donald Trump’s administration has come under fire from immigration rights activists, who accuse the president of targeting immigrant families and communities.
Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, congressional Democrats have also criticized Trump.
In June, the freshman congresswoman compared the Trump administration’s migrant detention centers on the southern border to Nazi “concentration camps.”
Meanwhile, many conservatives, frustrated by what they perceive as a broken immigration system, have been broadly supportive of Trump’s tough stance on enforcement.