In January, we reported an operation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants across the United States. The January raids represented a large-scale effort to deport families fleeing violence in Central America. In our January blog, we outlined our recommendations for how to respond to a raid, or in the event of contact with ICE agents.
Sadly, ICE announced on Thursday its plan to begin another month-long series of raids in May and June in response to a renewed surge of women and children fleeing violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. These raids, like those in January, will also be aimed at Central American mothers and children who recently entered the United States and have orders of deportation. Minors who entered the country without a guardian and since turned eighteen will also be encompassed by the raid.
The Obama Administration argues that these raids are well within its authority pursuant to a recent memorandum on “priorities for enforcement.” The priorities enforcement memo includes immigrants who entered the country after January 1, 2014.
Despite government authority to enforce its guidance, raids are not the appropriate response to this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Central American women and children are fleeing unescapable and unimaginable violence in their home countries. The threat of deportation will not stop them from leaving their countries to save their own lives and those of their children. We must find a more humane and rational response that both honors our country’s immigration laws and respects people’s lives; aggressive raids on the most vulnerable people among us does neither.
We will stay up-to-date and informed on this crisis, and will update our blog and website with any changes.
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