Immigration News: Human, Labor Violations Fueling Central Americans' Migration to US
Immigrant rights advocates have called out the Obama administration’s inconsistencies towards Central American immigrants fleeing the region.
In response to the Obama administration's, specifically the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), raids on undocumented immigrants, numerous calls have been made to immediately cease future removals. During a press call on Wednesday morning, Esther Lopez, member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International, spoke about the inadequate human and labor conditions in Honduras and how it's a root cause to the migration crisis.
Lopez said she has met with the Department of Labor in Honduras, who openly reported that 60 percent of Honduran employers violate minimum wage laws -- which is less than $1. She has spoken to union members who have faced death threats and youths who have been deported by the U.S. Lopez disclosed she met with a plane of deportees arriving from the U.S., including 13 to 15 years old, arriving with only the clothing on their back, struggling to wear shoes since officials removed their laces.
"They barely survived the journey north in hopes of protection, only to be sent back to the very dangers they ran from," said Lopez.
"We strongly believe that the inertia of our government to address some of these route causes such as the egregious human and labor violations going on in Honduras today have contributed to the crisis that is going on today," Lopez added. "If our government does not play a constructive role to reinstate rule of law and eliminate rampant human and labor rights protections in Honduras, we are going to continue to have this debate year after year."
Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas, a Latino immigrant-led organization promoting inclusive and sustainable policies for migrant communities, said the situation in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is a humanitarian crisis, and it's an issue the U.S. has not appropriately responded. Chacon said the deportation raids amount to the contribution of sending people back to their deaths.
"There's no question about the fact that a lot of the people who have come from Central American countries in the last several years have tried to secure legal representation ... to be able to make their cases before immigration judges and frankly in light of the very difficult challenge of ensuring adequate legal representation to everybody, there has also been an increasing call on the Obama administration to consider granting much more class-wide protection in the form of temporary protective status (TPS) or other forms of administrative relief that would not require legal representation on an individual basis," Chacon said.
More than 270 organizations, advocates and politicians have raised the calls for TPS. As Latin Post reported, 275 organizations, varying from civil rights, faith-based, labor rights, humanitarian and legal-based groups, called on DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to give Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadorian immigrants, currently in the U.S., with TPS as a result of the growing violence in their native countries.
Homeland Security's Defense on Raids
Johnson, however, defended the deportation campaign, which he confirmed occurred shortly after New Years Day. The DHS secretary said additional raids may occur under his discretion based on existing laws. Johnson disclosed 121 individuals were taken into custody and were in the process to be deported.
Johnson said the raids focused on families or individuals apprehended for illegally crossing the southern U.S. border after May, 1, 2014, were issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, exhausted appropriate legal remedies and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under current U.S. laws.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!