Deportation Surge Targeting Central American Mothers and Children Denounced by CARECEN and D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau
WASHINGTON – CARECEN and Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau denounced the ordered surge in enforcement action against mothers and children fleeing violence in Central America, and demanded that the administration, as well as local municipalities, prioritize protection and humanitarian relief over deportation.
“The Obama administration continues to operate under the misguided belief that militarized enforcement actions will serve as a deterrent to future migration, while refusing to recognize that the root causes of migration in Central America have not changed,” stated CARECEN Executive Director Abel Nuñez. “The flow of Central American migrants seeking refuge will not slow until there is an actionable plan to address the violence in the Northern Triangle and ensure protections for women and children.”
“Mothers and child refugees from Central America are fleeing gang threats, murder, extortion, rape and other abuses in addition to poverty and social exclusion,” said Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. “The Federal government targeting these refugees does not make our country safer and will only put mothers and children back into the potentially violent circumstances they fled. I recently introduced a resolution condemning these types of raids because I strongly believe the District of Columbia is a place where immigrants are valued and should feel welcome.”
Rather than address the root causes of migration, the administration turned to a number of failed strategies of deterrence. These include a series of highly publicized raids in January. These raids resulted in numerous reports of civil rights violations, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) granting a stay on deportation for at least 12 individuals being processed for removal, due to legitimate claims of credible fear and violations of due process. Such enforcement actions, intended to create an environment of fear, have resulted in adverse effects for local economies and public safety. The apprehension of an 18-year-old immigrant in North Carolina as he waited for a school bus contradicts the ICE policy memo which exists “to ensure that enforcement actions do not occur…at sensitive locations such as schools and churches.” The result of these actions was widespread panic, and sent a strong message to local communities that federal immigration officials are above their own policies.
CARECEN urges the Obama administration to grant temporary protective status to those fleeing violence in Central America, and put an end to the inhumane response of detention and deportation. Women and children seeking refuge must be treated humanely, and provided access to individual legal counsel. This is the time for the nation to show global leadership in humanitarian protections.
News of the surge was first published by Reuters, which reported that “U.S. immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children…” which “…would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January…”