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Children from Central America Fleeing Persecution

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2014

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

Obama Administration Moves to Deport Children Fleeing Persecution

Request to Congress Puts Immigrant Children at Risk

WASHINGTON – The New York Times and other sources have reported that the Obama administration will ask Congress to expand its legal authority to fast track deportations for Central American children fleeing violence in their home countries. The administration also will request up to $2 billion in additional funds to pay for care for these children.

The National Immigration Law Center has long fought for the due process rights of all immigrants, particularly those fleeing violence in Central America. The organization has secured nationwide permanent injunctions to ensure basic protections for detained migrants. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“Since its inception, America has been a beacon of hope and fair treatment for those fleeing persecution or dangerous situations in their home countries. Today, the Obama administration will ask Congress to give it authority that contradicts this country’s noble history, allowing it to quickly deport Central American children back to the violent situations they escaped.

“This is outrageous and unacceptable. This latest move is simply part of the Obama administration’s failed strategy of trying to appease right wing policymakers. We’ve seen the administration use this erroneous logic for more than six years, resulting in the separation of more than two million families due to deportation. Continuing to use this flawed logic, this time to deport children, is unconscionable.

“These Central American children deserve nothing less than a compassionate, regional response to what has become a humanitarian situation affecting the entire hemisphere. Instead of placing children back in the violent situations they risked their lives to leave, the Obama administration should work with its counterparts in Latin America to go after smugglers and others who seek to profit off this truly tragic situation.

“Our immigration system should allow all people — and especially children — to receive fair and full consideration of their legal claims and have their day in court. Failure to afford these young people basic dignity and security under the law will not appease fear mongers, and the price of the administration’s actions — pushing vulnerable children back into dangerous or deadly situations — is simply too high.

“We call upon Senate and House leaders to swiftly reject this request, and instead work with advocates and experts to ensure that the fundamental rights of these children are guaranteed.”

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