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ICE Plans Increase in Deportations Targeting Central American Women and Children

children crossing borderImmigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the federal agency administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is largely responsible for the enforcement of many of the nation’s immigration laws. ICE officials, apparently acting on instructions from the Obama administration, are planning to conduct a series of immigration raids during May and June in order to locate, apprehend, and deport hundreds of women and children who recently entered the U.S. without authorization in order to escape gang violence, sex crimes, and other trauma in their Central American home countries.

The Immigration Raids

The summer raids come after the success of similar raids conducted in January that resulted in more than 100 deportations from North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. Most of those deported during these raids were women and children, which resulted in vehement opposition and criticism by immigrant rights advocates and many Democrats, including presidential frontrunner Mrs. Clinton, who alleged that the raids have generated high levels of fear and anxiety in immigrant communities.

Notwithstanding this criticism, ICE has instructed its field offices across the country to launch a month-long surge in arrests of those who fled Central America and entered the U.S. in the last two years. Further details of the raids could not be obtained because an ICE spokeswoman stated that the agency does not provide such details in advance, but she added that its current deportation priorities include foreign nationals who entered the U.S. without immigration authorization after January 1, 2014.

The Targeted Population

According to the U.S. Border Patrol (BP), its officers apprehended nearly 33,000 families (defined as mothers and children) for crossing the border into the U.S. from October 2015 to March 2016. This number is a significant increase from the amount of apprehensions that were conducted during the same period in 2014-2015 (a total of 14,000 apprehensions).

Since many of those apprehended are placed into deportation proceedings but then do not appear for their court dates, ICE has taken to conducting these raids under political and media pressure. The failed or ignored deportation orders have put President Obama between a rock and a hard place during a critical election year when the Republicans constantly hammer him over the millions of undocumented foreign nationals in the United States, and over his executive orders aimed at providing certain individuals with DACA relief from deportation.

Future Raids May Occur

What is even more concerning is the possibility that the administration will continue to instruct ICE to conduct these raids. DHS Secretary Mr. Jeh Johnson testified to a Senate panel in March about the efficacy of the January raids in deterring unauthorized entries from Central American countries. However, Secretary Johnson has also had to deal with criticism from the nation’s Hispanic-American population, who tend to vote Democrat and are often sympathetic to undocumented foreign nationals. Immigration rights advocates have already asked the Secretary to discontinue the raids in the future, but the Secretary has not issued a statement on this request.

The Rant

We do not support immigrant deportations so that ICE can reach their targeted quota. The individuals detained have escaped lives of ongoing violence and terror, and we hope that the United States will remember its historic tradition of being a country of refuge.

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