The recent upscale of Donald Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policies has continued to break military families apart, according to reports. The latest of such is the deportation of a Canadian army captain, Demetry Furman, 47, who is married to a former US air force officer. Demetry Furman fought alongside American troops in the middle east country of Afghanistan.
Demetry Furman said he “help a top-level security clearance with US forces” during his time in the Middle East. He has also reportedly worked with several successful anti-drugs operations that prevented the entrance of multimillion dollar heroin into the America.
He has been detained in for 77 days in a maximum security prison in Ohio after being labelled a drugs trafficker. According to him, “it was a long-spent 1992 marijuana conviction,” that led to his being dumped at the Canadian border by agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“I feel betrayed. It’s a slap in the face because when I was in Afghanistan no-one cared what flag was on my shoulder,” Demetry Furman said. “I’m labelled a drug trafficker by them right now, but when I was in Afghanistan and guarding poppy fields, I was stopping opium convoys through Pakistan to China to be made into heroin and shipped to the US.”
The conviction resulted to a fine of $80 and 28 days’ community service, and it came after a passenger in Mr. Furman’s car attempted to sell marijuana to an undercover police officer. Canadian authorities later vacated the conviction but Mr. Furman was told by the US immigration officials in 2016 that it was not a barrier to his application for a green card after marrying his wife Cynthia in 2014. The couple served together in Ohio three years earlier.
The Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policies could not overlook what seemed to be a ‘minor blip’ on his record, as it has taken greater significance. These policies have, in a way, affected families who are clean of any wrong doing in that regard. The ICE agents have widened their scope under the new policies. The policies have seen the wife of a decorated US marine and their nine-year-old son deported to Mexico years after being told they were not a priority.
Despite assurances of safety while his green card application was ongoing, Mrs. Furman recalls “They interviewed us in Cleveland in 2016 and said everything looks great and we should be getting everything taken care of in the next 30 to 45 days,”
“I even got a call from Washington and the immigration officer chuckled when I said I was worried my husband would be deported because this is taking so long. He said there’s no need to be worried because we were doing everything right.”
According to reports, ‘after being told the green card application “had been lost”, Furman was arrested on August 1 at a drivers’ licence office in Medina, Ohio, as he tried to register a truck. The system flagged up his name and officials there called ICE. “I was sitting in the car waiting for him and two Ice agents came up and handed me his keys and his pocket knife and said they were detaining him,” Cynthia Furman said.’
“They wouldn’t tell me why, or where they were taking him, and wouldn’t let me see him. I said I couldn’t drive because I had my ankle in a cast and they just said ‘call somebody’ and walked off.”’
“I’m not unique, I’m one of thousands of people this is being done to, other veterans that this is being done to,” Furman said.
“This has to stop. We believed in our government, we did what our government asked us to do, they sent us to war. And now we’re cannon fodder? No, we’re human beings.”