It was the sort of tragedy the Obama administration had seemed so intent on avoiding. On Thursday night Wasington Coelho Ribero, a DREAM Act-eligible undocumented immigrant, was deported to Brazil. His deportation came four months after the Obama administration announced that it would immediately stop deporting young undocumented immigrants who met several stringent requirements, and more than a year after the Obama administration also said it would focus deportations only on those who presented a serious threat to the nation’s security.
Advocates say that under at least one of these administrative guidances, if not for humanitarian reasons, Ribero, a 27-year-old immigrant with a U.S. citizen partner, should have been granted relief. Immigration officials disagreed.
Immigrant and LGBT rights activists worked to protect him from deportation and called for his release as Ribero’s health started declining while in detention. He entered detention in fine health but after four months without access to medical care in Krome Detention Center in Miami, he “developed sores on his feet and white spots,” activists said.
“The United States has a long history of restricting full inclusion of LGBT and HIV+ people in the immigration system. It’s sad that humanitarian arguments were not enough to stop the deportation of Wasington, a DREAMer like me,” said LGBT rights organization GetEQUAL’s national field director Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, who is himself also undocumented.
With the presidential election but four days away, Ribero’s deportation is an especially sobering reminder of the president’s record on immigration, a mix of minor administrative fixes and inconsistent relief but also a record-breaking deportation spree. “Our only option is to continue pressuring the current administration to end the inhumane treatment of immigrants in our detention system and to stop their senseless desire to appeal to ‘immigration hardliners’ during this election cycle at the expense of immigrant communities,” Sousa-Rodriguez told Colorlines.