Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The Obama administration is planning its largest sweep this year. (Photo: ndlon/flickr/cc)

US Planning New Sweep of 'Reprehensible' Deportation Raids

Reporting by Reuters reveals immigration officials planning to round up Central American families throughout May and June

Nadia Prupis

The Obama administration is planning more raids to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children in May and June, Reuters reported on Thursday.

It is poised to be the largest sweep this year, following a two-day operation in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina in January. The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) said the announcement means the administration "is turning a blind eye to the many serious due process violations" that occurred during previous raids.

"These military-style raids against mothers and children fleeing violence are reprehensible," said NILC executive director Marielena Hincapié. "We are outraged that the Obama administration has once again decided to engage in a PR stunt that only serves to create fear and paralyze everyday life and civic participation in immigrant communities, in our schools, and in workplaces."

"The federal government's failure to address the violent conditions that are causing women and children to flee in the first place means that these raids are a complete and utter policy failure," Hincapié said.

According to Reuters, which saw an internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) document, field offices nationwide have been instructed to conduct month-long "surges" to round up mothers and children who have already been instructed to leave the country, as well as those who entered the country as unaccompanied minors but have since turned 18.

Migrants who arrived after January 1, 2014 are the priority targets, an ICE spokesperson told Reuters.

Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration rights organization America's Voice, also criticized the raid plans and the Obama administration for disregarding how violence in Central America is fueling the displacement of individuals and families.
"We are outraged that the Obama administration has once again decided to engage in a PR stunt that only serves to create fear and paralyze everyday life."
—Marielena Hincapié,
National Immigration Law Center

"There is a refugee crisis in Central America and to deal with it effectively we need to treat it like a refugee crisis," Sharry said. "Central American kids and young families are fleeing horrific violence. El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are among the most murderous countries in the world. Incredibly, however, the U.S. government is using deterrence, detention and deportation as its main tools."

The government's enforcement-based approach "misdiagnoses" the reasons people are fleeing their home countries, Sharry said. "Those fleeing horrific violence in Central America need to be protected, not deported."

The news come as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the fate of two of President Barack Obama's own executive programs on immigration, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Just this week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for the deportation of a woman and her 12-year-old daughter from the US to El Salvador to be halted, saying "their lives and personal integrity would be at risk."

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders voiced their opposition to the raids, which Sanders described as "the painful and inhumane business of locking up and deporting families who have fled horrendous violence in Central America and other countries."

"I urge President Obama to use his executive authority to protect families by extending Temporary Protective Status for those who fled from Central America," Sanders said.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·

Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·

Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·

Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·

Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo