Immigration Hysteria Gone Crazy: Deporting A Resident of 50 Years

Mike Burrows came to America when he was two years old, and has lived here for 50 years. Due to a technicality in harsh anti-immigration laws, he will likely be deported to his birthplace of Canada within weeks, a country that he has no current connection to and no memory of.

I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My dad worked for a division of Capitol Records. He received a transfer to Los Angeles, got permanent resident visas for the whole family and when I was two years eleven months old, we moved to the States. I grew up in Glendale, California, where I said the pledge of allegiance, played baseball, and lived like any American. Except for a first grade teacher who told me I could never be President, I thought I was just like everybody else. In high school, I played guitar in a band, played first base for the jv then varsity baseball team. All in all, I was living an American life.
-Mike Burrows

Mike Burrows is the poster child demonstrating the hysteria surrounding the immigration debate in the United States. He has built his life in America, he has children, parents, girlfriend, and all of his friends here. Mike has worked and paid taxes for most of his adult life. He worked his way up in the car business from sales to General Manager, has been a professional musician (guitar and lead singer), and has sold advertising for a range of publications. He has also worked as a certified mechanic and he ran an auto body repair shop. He is American as apple pie.

The Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) was passed in 1996, stating that those in the country without proper documentation would be deported for a period of time (3 years, 10 years, or permanently). The same law stripped judges of discretion and made it legal to severely limit due process for immigrants. Previously, immediate deportation was triggered by criminal offenses that potentially would have meant 5+ years in jail, after IIRIRA, minor infractions such as shoplifting could trigger this.

Mike was convicted of receipt of a stolen 8-track tape deck worth $50, a misdemeanor in 1978, when he was 18 years old. This conviction was expunged from his record in 1983. Although Mike is officially considered a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), the 1996 law was applied retroactively, and in 2001 Mike was found “removable.”

For the past 9 years, Mike Burrows has been fighting a legal battle against an intractable bureaucracy, that includes the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 310 attorneys and 100 support staff of the Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL), and various local agencies and courts. He spent a month in the Lancaster Country, California federal immigration detention center before having his $10,000 bail processed, money that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would soon strong-arm the bonding company out of.

In the past nine years I’ve written thousands of pages of motions and petitions; I’ve held off 4 Attorneys General and countless government lawyers. It’s not life or death to them as it is to me.
-Mike Burrows

The DOJ’s immigration tribunal allows a panel of one to decide administrative immigration appeals with little or no review, so having exhausted all legal channels to appeal his decision, Mike now waits at his home for ICE agents to break into his house for a second time and send him to a land he has never known.

Once deported, Mike would likely never be able to see his parents again as they are too elderly and too infirm to travel, especially his mother who has Alzheimer’s, or his daughter again until she is eighteen. There is a lifetime ban on re-entry for “criminal” aliens, with a penalty of up to twenty years in Federal prison should he cross over the border after removal, even though his grandfather was a South Dakota state senator who owned a cattle ranch.

Mike continues to blog about his ordeal. A governor’s pardon is likely the only hope of relief from removal in this case. Mike Burrows, father, taxpayer, and lover of America for 50 years, a victim of an overzealous immigration policy and ruthless bureaucracy.

This is how I live my every day, wondering when ICE is going to kick the door in and drop me off at the nearest detention center.
-Mike Burrows

Editor’s note – you can help Mike in his fight against the insane deportation by signing the petition at change.org.

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40 Responses to Immigration Hysteria Gone Crazy: Deporting A Resident of 50 Years

  1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy
    December 6, 2010 at 6:31 am

    IMMIGRATION LAWS ARE like HITLER….

  2. +13 Vote -1 Vote +1Jaytee
    December 6, 2010 at 7:24 am

    This is not a free country. It never really has been. Everyone who has sacrificed their lives fighting for our freedoms made that sacrifce in vain. America is just a large group of apathetic people being led by evil self-serving bureaucrats who care nothing about other people.

  3. -44 Vote -1 Vote +1Delaware Bob
    December 6, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Sorry guy, if you are here ILLEGALLY, you shouldn’t be here. who bought you here? Your parents? We should give you amnesty because they broke the law? Sorry, guy. We give you amnesty, everyone else will want amnesty to.

    • +19 Vote -1 Vote +1DCJoeDog
      December 6, 2010 at 7:37 am

      Did you even bother to read the article? He was born in Canada but raised here after his father got a job transfer here and thus permanent visas for his whole family. He committed a misdemeanor crime in 1978, receiving a stolen 8-track tape deck, he didn’t even steal it, someone gave it to him, and now the USA wants to deport a guy who on his own never committed a crime, has family here and a life to Canada. You think that’s fine?

      • -33 Vote -1 Vote +1Former President Bush II
        December 6, 2010 at 8:04 am

        Who cares how young he got here. Better late than never. You think if somebody murders somebody and gets away with it for 50 years, when he is finally caught he should be let free for not getting caught for so long?

        Throw this guy in jail, and while you are at it, kill him on the way out so this sneak can’t squirm back into the US, the land I love.

        • +16 Vote -1 Vote +1jeremy
          December 6, 2010 at 8:19 am

          you imbecile. HE HAD LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS! do laws mean nothing to you? the guy is being dicked around on bureaucratic technicalities – big difference from being here unlawfully.

          you don’t love this land. you’re a selfish fascist that wants everyone who sees things differently than you to die. sorry, that is not the attribute of a free country, but i can point you to several WWII era regimes that coincide very closely with your stated beliefs.

          • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Josh
            December 6, 2010 at 8:27 am

            dude, you got trolled, look at the guys name. he’s saying that on purpose.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1KDixler
      December 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      The challenge DB is that Mr. Burrows ‘entered lawfully.’ Read the article, then you will understand why U.S. Immigration Laws violate basic human rights.

      Yet, these laws are Constitutional because these are immigration laws controlled by the Alieneage Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This means that Congress can pass laws that deport many who entered lawfully, even after fifty years of continuous presence in the U.S. These violations can be civil immigration violations, not just criminal convictions. It can even de-naturalize U.S. Citizens. Please read the article.

      This is why some want immigration laws to be reformed, rather than to remain in the present condition. The laws are blind to this sort of situation, but there are many other outrageous consequences that have happened, as well. That is why Jeb Bush recently admitted that he will no longer aspire to public office due to his views on immigration reform, because the current GOP has abandoned him, among others.

      As a matter of law, there has never been a ‘pure amnesty’ in the history of immigration law. Just legalizations, registry, and penalties for select groups unless some administrator messes up. Regrettably, every time a law passes to help law enforcement, someone mislabels it to serve their political aspirations or need to oppose it.

  4. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1Justin
    December 6, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Hey, Delaware bob I love how you assume he is here illegally, didn’t you see he came when he was TWO with his parents, and he got in the legal way, and what was this country formed from??

  5. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Stuy
    December 6, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Just mary your GF. There… done..

    • +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Citizen spouse of a deported wife
      December 6, 2010 at 10:40 am

      Being married to a citizen does absolutely nothing to prevent you from deportation. My own wife of 10 years was kicked out of the country for something similarly trivial.

  6. -14 Vote -1 Vote +1polak
    December 6, 2010 at 7:37 am

    you bleeding heart liberals can’t blame racism for this one

    • +7 Vote -1 Vote +1DCJoeDog
      December 6, 2010 at 7:38 am

      He was here legally, it’s a system gone nuts

  7. -13 Vote -1 Vote +1nonya
    December 6, 2010 at 7:37 am

    He had 50 years to become legal

    • +10 Vote -1 Vote +1DCJoeDog
      December 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

      he’s been legal since he was TWO YEARS OLD. read the article, it keeps you from looking like a tool

      • -2 Vote -1 Vote +1GAK
        December 6, 2010 at 8:17 am

        I suppose nonya should have said “He had 50 years to become a citizen”. He was here legally since he was 2 but never as a citizen. Citizens have just a few more rights than non-citizens, like not being deported for criminal offenses.

  8. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Junta
    December 6, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Wow. A white guy to be deported gets a story. Good work!

  9. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Pigbitin Mad
    December 6, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Doesn’t surprise me that our government is that fascist, but I sorta wish I could be deported to Canada (or any country but here). It has lately become a curse to be an American citizen. The people in charge are so hateful that I have lost all hope that the future will ever improve. Especially now that we need to bail out billionaires while millions more get laid off because “we just can’t afford to pay them.” Seriously. You might be very glad you were not like the Jews who stayed in Germany too long. If I could get out, I would. And I would not look back.

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Matt
    December 6, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Who cares…your being deported to Canada…it’s better than the US in so many ways. Bring your elderly parents up here and they won’t have to pay for the buffet of pills they take every day.

    • Ole Ole Olson
      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Ole Olson
      December 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

      Although Canada is by far not the worst place to be deported to (I would think the libertarian paradise of Somalia would be), it is the principle of the thing. The guy is getting rakes over the coals over a technicality that is wrecking the good life he has built here in America.

      Besides, FTA – “Once deported, Mike would likely never be able to see his parents again as they are too elderly and too infirm to travel”

  11. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Corey
    December 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Well, good for Mike! Now he can enjoy the benefits of public healthcare.

    What do I have to do to get deported to Canada?

  12. -5 Vote -1 Vote +1rj
    December 6, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Citizenship the road rightfully taken, it should have been…as Yoda would say.

    perminate resident visa is but a path to but not citizenship

    ” Mike Burrows is the poster child for the hysteria surrounding the immigration debate In the US”

    There is the true motivation for this story

    Looks to me like a grand story of perfect storm for the argument of amnesty and road to citizenship for those here who have previously chosen not to pursue citizenship,

    Wait didn’t we do something like that in 1986? guess he missed that boat too.

    Yea it may be a harsh strict interpretation of the 1996 law but how difficult would it have been to sought citizenship during those 50 yrs instead of continuing on,

    Bet this enforcement action is a preclude by many to argue for amnesty and “comprehensive immigration reform”

    The problem lies with how many ” all american stories” are out there vs how many criminal elements will be granted this argued for amnesty and comprehensive reform.

    I say blame his daddy for not ensuring he obtained citizenship…

    • +4 Vote -1 Vote +1KDixler
      December 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      RJ, you also misinterpret what happened. As stated, Mr. Burrows entered as a lawful permanent resident. He was unable to derive U.S. Citizenship through his dad. He did not need to apply for legalization in 1986, because he was already a lawful permanent resident. He did not miss the boat; he did not need it!

      He, among others, have wrongly believed that they somehow derived U.S. Citizenship due to their parents. However, the decision not to contact an immigration attorney is quite common. Most think that they can do things like this by themselves. The USCIS has even encouraged this sort of mentality in the past, perhaps still.

      Again, blaming his parents for not knowing a complicated legal system constantly in flux or blaming his parents for being misinformed is pointless. The fact is Mike Burrows has lived in the U.S. for fifty years since the age of two and is going to be deported.

      In my practice, I have seen a naturalized U.S. Citizens with terminal cancer detained for a few weeks and nearly placed in deportation by skeptical DHS Officials. This, because she could not easily find her naturalization certificate. It did not matter if her name was in the computer.

      I have heard of a news story where U. S. Citizens who were mentally ill were deported to Mexico and nearly lost in that nation. Yet, my client’s story never made the news. The system has flaws.

      I can go on with many examples. Unfortunately some people who will insist on us disclosing facts that our clients insist remain confidential. Most U.S. Citizens are clueless until their own spouse, child, sibling, parent or in-law is threated with deportation or removed and indefinitely taken from them. The right to live or visit half way around the world brings little solace.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1rj
        December 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

        So you are saying that the Lawful perm resident status = citizenship? if that is correct then I stand corrected on my misinterpretation of the facts.

        If not, then I stand by my analysis, it falls on those who seek citizenship to meet the requirements. (the same as any who migrate to other countries from the US would in their new country)

        I did not mean to infer that the parent, who migrated here with the child could infer citizenship, only that as a parent the need to have the child naturalized or inform the child he would need to do so.

        Yes the system needs overhauled starting at the ground up. Ya have to start somewhere.

        Those of us whose families have met the requirement at the time of immigration cannot abide those who dont.

        And trust me, I can prove my citizenship should the ICE come calling.

        • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1kv
          December 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm

          Lawful Permanent Resident is not Citizenship. This circumstances of this case are a convenient argument for those that want to demonize the system. The only problem is that their argument isn’t a valid one. Illegal is illegal. I’m sure he’s a great guy and has been an upstanding lawful permanent resident, but he’s not a citizen. I can’t comprehend why Americans would advocate for criminal behavior.

  13. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Canadian
    December 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Mr. Burrows, theoretically, has never voted in a single election in his life and participated and exercised in the American democracy. That to me, is NOT as American as apple pie as the article had tried to make him out to be.

    Granted, nowadays you can vote with just a driver license and phone bill, at least that’s what’s been allowed in our Canadian elections.

    (Coincidentally, I’m writing from Calgary, Mr. Burrow’s birthplace.)

  14. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1articles
    December 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I think maybe is because USA needs to have more immigration laws, but when you are ilegal you broken the law, he have 50 years to fix it

  15. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Greennovator
    December 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Simple solution … Schwarzenegger grants him a pardon on his very minor misdemeanor conviction in 1978, and he agrees to go through the process of becoming a legal citizen.

    That solves all the moral and legal issues brought up here, the worst of which is that they are applying the 1996 law retroactively back to 1978 for what seems to be BS political grandstanding purposes (“we’re real tough, and we make no exceptions, no matter how foolish or inhumane”).

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  17. Vote -1 Vote +1Andrew
    December 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I wonder how many jobs would open up if we deported ALL illegal immigrants?

    And before people scream ‘racism!’ — I as talking to a guy from frigging PORTUGAL last night at work who was wanting to see immigration shut down till we get the unemployment back to a reasonable level

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Keven
    December 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Just don’t you dare blaming this 10% situation on any fortune seekers that came to work here to have their own chance at the American dream.

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1Mark
    December 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    except many business can not exist at higher labor costs so what they would do is higher FEWER EMPLOYEE’s

    this might in the end result in them not being able to perform well enough to be viable and then they higher ZERO employee’s

    we have exported to much to be sustainable anymore and tax too much for anyone to survive easily.

  20. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1BobSkippy
    December 7, 2010 at 2:52 am

    What bothers me about this is that the government is pursuing this, even though Mike Burrows has been a Legal Permanent Resident – NOT AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT – for 50 years, even though the *minor* offense had occurred *more* than 20 years before they decided to prosecute (remember, the US Constitution *forbids* ex post facto laws), AND, even though that minor offense had been EXPUNGED FROM RECORD IN 1983!

    If the offense was expunged from record, *how* can the government use it *against* Burrows??? Legally, he has NO CRIMINAL RECORD!!!

    I can see deporting somebody who’s overstayed their visa. I can see some justification for deporting an immigrant who commits a *serious* crime. But deporting a *lawful* resident because of a *minor* offense that was REMOVED from record? RIDICULOUS!!!

    Is anyone organizing a write-in campaign to not only Gov. Schwarzenegger, but Senators Boxer & Feinstein, as well?

  21. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Damien
    December 7, 2010 at 6:24 am

    This really sucks, but that’s how the cookie crumbles! Mike you should have gotten legal back in the 80′s with the Ronald Reagan amnesty program. Your parents did you a miss service by not applying for citizenship here when the opportunity was there. Sorry dude. No worries Canada isn’t a bad place to live and I here they have great health care and good entitlement programs. Try Vancouver it’s really nice.

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