The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will conduct a 30-day “surge” of immigration raids beginning in May, as Reuters first reported. The raids will target “single adults” and Central American mothers and children who arrived in the country after January 1, 2014 and have since “evaded their deportation orders or not shown up for court hearings,” according to theWall Street Journal.
Many of those Central Americans are likely fleeing gang violence in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. A Salvadoran dies every 60 minutes because of the growing violence there. Immigration lawyers point out that these people are simply seeking asylum within the United States’ borders, even if U.S. officials don’t recognize that fact.
The impending raids are similar to the large-scale immigration raids that the administration conducted at the beginning of this year, which terrorized immigrant communities across the country. Advocates are condemning the move, calling for the administration to provide legal services to mothers and children instead.
“In January, when 121 individuals were detained in different parts of the country, our communities lived in terror,” Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said in a statement. “This tactic of keeping immigrant communities in constant fear of deportation is immoral and unjust. It does nothing to resolve the broader issues of our broken immigration system.”
A government source indicated that ICE agents were advised to stay away from “sensitive locations” like churches, schools, and hospitals, ABC News reported.
But so far, those guidelines have not been closely followed this year. As ThinkProgress previously reported, ICE agents have lured an undocumented immigrant out of a church, and have taken Central American teenagers into custody while they’re on their way to and from school.
In light of this, advocates are concerned that immigrants may soon be too afraid to leave their homes. During January’s large-scale immigration raids, even immigrants outside North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia — the three states that ICE targeted for its operations — found themselves taking different routes to work or avoiding dropping their kids off at school.
Having said that this solution is pretty horrific, the real issue is our terrible immigration system and the fact that Republicans have been blocking efforts for immigration reform for decades now. We wouldn't be in this situation if we were allowed to fix immigration. Republicans refuse to let that happen.
But that leaves the fact Obama is rounding up and deporting kids back to a violent hell, and it's something that needs to stop, outright.