Central American Children and Families Deserve Support and Protection, Not Raids and Deportations
President Obama reaffirms his role as “Deporter-in-Chief”
January 4, 2016. Chicago, IL –In the early hours of Jan. 2, agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began to carry out raids on homes around the country. The targets of the raids are Central American children and families who have been given deportation orders in absentia over the past few years. Their countries of origin, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, are currently among the most violent countries in the world. A toxic mix of gangs and organized crime, combined with corrupt law enforcement and high levels of impunity for perpetrators of violence, have led tens of thousands of Central American children and families to flee this region. The systemic lack of economic and social opportunities for a dignified way of life compounds the urgency for many to leave.
Alianza Americas’ executive director, Oscar Chacon, had the following reaction to the raids targeting Central American children and families:
The raids against the homes of Central American children and families are a disgrace and a violation of our moral obligations to protect the victims of violence. The horrible circumstances that have pushed so many children and families out of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador over the past few years constitute a humanitarian crisis. As a nation proud of our immigrant heritage, and supposedly committed to the protection of oppressed populations, we must stop the raids immediately.
President Obama and Secretary Jeh Johnson must be woefully ignorant of the terrible circumstances that have pushed these children and families to embark on the perilous journey to the United States in search of refuge. Nothing has changed to improve the situation for families in the Central American Northern Triangle countries. If anything, the pattern of violence has only gotten worse. With this action, President Obama is confirming his legacy as Deporter-in-Chief.
Instead of wasting tax-payer dollars on raids or putting children and families in privately-run detention facilities, we should be providing support and protection to these children and families. Given the fact that political asylum has proven to be an inadequate mechanism to protect the majority of these children and families, President Obama should grant them Temporary Protected Status or other forms of administrative protection. Over the longer term, we should be working with civil society actors and governments in Central America to fix the deeply broken economic, social and political conditions in these countries, so that children and families no longer have to flee their countries in search of safe haven.
Contact: Cristina García, email@example.com//773-875-3314