Immigration Deportation Raids: 146 Congressional Lawmakers Tell Obama to Stop Deportation Raids
More than 140 members of Congress has signed and published a letter to President Barack Obama demanding an immediate end to his administration's deportation raids.
On Tuesday, several congressional lawmakers, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), gathered to strongly condemn and denounce the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) raids on undocumented immigrant families who came to the U.S. in 2014 and following specific instructions from immigrant court judges. The raids were carried out by officials of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within DHS.
"Our letter to President Obama, with over 100 signatures from Members of Congress, simply asks the president to suspend removal operations of Central American refugee women and children and to grant them Temporary Protected Status until the Administration has a comprehensive refugee strategy in place that provides adequate screening, meaningful legal counsel and due process, and a comprehensive regional approach that will ensure these refugee women and children have a fair chance to live in safety," said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., in her prepared remarks.
Letter to Obama
The two-page letter states the deportation raids, which were conducted during the weekend following New Years, have caused fear and panic across immigrant communities. The 146 congressional lawmakers who signed the letter agreed that the operation raises numerous legal counsel access and due process concerns. The lawmakers also state the DHS officers have reportedly used deceptive tactics to gain entrance into the private residences where immigrants live. Lawmakers also want the deportation campaign to cease as to ensure immigrant mothers and children are not returned back to their native country where they could encounter persecution, torture or death.
"The brutality of violence in Central America is undeniable, and yet this administration has failed to provide a comprehensive refugee solution for those seeking international refugee protection," reads the letter, adding that 85 percent of detained Central American families have demonstrated eligibility for refugee protection.
The lawmakers believe the Obama administration has responded to the Central American refugee crisis with "deterrence" instead of providing the need for a regional solution. The lawmakers also believe the administration's current tactics -- ranging from family detention, Spanish-language communication campaign in Central America urging individuals and families not to travel north and financial assistance to Mexico -- are ineffective.
Lawmakers have called for a comprehensive approach that would include refugee screening and resettlement, safe havens in certain countries, TPS and other humanitarian remedies in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
"The goal of this comprehensive refugee approach should be to ensure that Central American refugees, particularly, mothers and children, are able to live free from an endless cycle of violence and persecution. ... Failure to provide this comprehensive solution will continue to lead to disorder at our border and will further a sense of unease across the United States," the letter continued.
Among the 146 signatures are Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. Rep. Nydia Velasquez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.
To read the letter, click here.
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