UPDATED 7 January 2016
Since the early morning hours of January 2, the Department of Homeland Security has been carrying out raids against homes in immigrant communities across the country. The targets of these raids are Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadoran children and adults who missed their deportation hearing and therefore were given deportation orders in absentia. These children and adults arrived to the U.S. in the context of a still unfolding humanitarian crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of people in these countries as a result of unprecedented levels of violence, insecurity and a systemic lack of opportunities for people to live dignified lives.
Current humanitarian protection mechanisms have proven to be inadequate to ensure the kind of protection that people fleeing violence of the sort affecting Central American nationals desperately need and deserve. While the U.S. government allowed these children and adult to be released after initiating deportation proceedings against them, they were not provided access to experienced legal counsel. As a result, most have not secured legal representation to argue their cases before an immigration judge, resulting in deportation orders issued in absentia.
The notion that children and adults fleeing a profound condition of insecurity that is not likely to change any time soon should be just sent back is utterly inhumane, and fully inconsistent with basic American values. In light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region and the failure of the current asylum procedures to provide adequate protection, it is urgent that these children and families be granted some form of temporary protected status immediately.
Central American children and families need our help. They must be protected and supported, not apprehended and deported.
We all on our members and allies to call the white house this week and ask President Obama to do the following:
- Direct the Department of Homeland Security to cease the raids, detentions, and deportations of Central American children and families fleeing an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region.
- Grant immediate temporary protected status or some other form of administrative relief to these families and children so that they can remain out of harm’s way.
- Take the opportunity to work with governments and civil society in the region to deal responsibly and decisively with the underlying problems that lead to conditions of violence insecurity that are forcing people to run for their lives.