Department of Homeland Security Starts Year with Raids, Deportations
(Washington, D.C.) – The Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, announced this week that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has already apprehended over 120 adults and children in raids this year and will continue to do so as part of a nationwide operation. This effort is largely aimed at migrants from Central America who arrived at the southern U.S. border beginning in 2014 and who have not obtained legal status or earned asylum protection. Last year Johnson said that they would prioritize the deportation of criminals – following President Obama’s lead – but has now shifted time and resources to deport Central American families and children.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“Once again immigrant families are falling victim to President Obama’s troubling inconsistencies on what he says he will do on immigration and what he actually does. His has been a disappointing record of making promises to the immigrant and Latino communities in order to gain political favor, but taking policy actions that contradict his rhetoric.
Central American migrants came to the border seeking a better and safer life, under the mistaken hope or impression they would be allowed to remain here. Reversing course from an earlier commitment to prioritize the removal of criminals and other serious offenders, the administration is now executing a high-profile operation to deport vulnerable families who have fled gang violence, drug and sex trafficking cartels. But this latest, unanticipated move by the Obama administration is just another reminder of the failed promises made by the president to move forward on immigration reform.
While America is a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced, most Americans agree we must prioritize limited resources to seek, process and deport criminals, and the gang and cartel members responsible for the violence threatening all Americans and these refugee families. What President Obama has done is placed them in a helpless position, and moved resources away from making our communities safer.
President Obama calls himself a champion of immigration, yet he failed to make reform a priority even when his own party controlled both Houses of Congress. What limited actions he has taken have caused uncertainty, hardship, and are nothing short of pandering to a community in need of real, long-lasting reform. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the president will not lead us to broad immigration reform for the remainder of his term. The next president must have a realistic plan to work with Congress to finally get this done because without true leadership, these problems will never be solved.”