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Harry Reid Believes Obama Administration Will Soon Pause Deportation Raids

First Posted: Jan 13, 2016 10:00 AM EST
Senate Legislators Speak To The Press After Their Weekly Policy Luncheons

Photo : Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Citing the tension that has escalated between the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid claims the deportation raids will soon be over, at least for a while.

"I think you're going to find a pause in these deportations," Reid told The Hill.

The Nevada senator says that the controversy has divided Democrats, and party members in Congress are now working on a resolution. However, he is not sure when the policy shift will be announced.

Ever since officials from the Immigrations and Customs Inforcement (ICE) started targeting Central American immigrants last week, more than 140 House members have come out to criticize the Obama administration. The White House has since called for a meeting of its top officials in a vain effort to suppress the backlash.

In a span of 13 days, a total of 121 people has been taken into custody, most of them in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. The detention of adults and children has been seen as an inhumane effort by the government to quell a tide of refugees fleeing the conflict in Central America, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest thinks otherwise.

"The enforcement priorities laid out by the administration are concentrating our efforts to deport felons, not families, and to prioritize the case of recent border crossers," he explained in a press briefing, per Reuters.

Earnest added that the raids only targeted individuals who unlawfully crossed the southern border after May 1, 2014. An immigration court directive ordered them to be removed. Most families were taken to family residential centers before being escorted back to their home countries through chartered flights.

The White House initially stated that it would not change its stance on the issue despite the negative feedback among congressional Democrats over the deportation raids.

"We're of course aware of these concerns. But the enforcement strategy and priorities that the administration has articulated are not going to change," Earnest told The Hill last week.

According to the latest Border Patrol numbers via The Washington Times, illegal immigration from Central America is at an all-time high. From October to December 2015, close to 40,000 adults and children have been caught trying to cross the southwest border.

Approximately 9,000 adults have been caught in December, which is a 38 percent increase compared to November. Border Patrol agents also apprehended another 6,800 children who were traveling alone last month.

The vast majority of immigrants are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Human rights groups say those countries are suffering from an epidemic of violence that's driving women and children out of their homes.

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