President Obama Ramps Up Family Separations

May 12, 2016

Adela de la Torre, [email protected], 213-400-7822

President Obama Ramps Up Family Separations

ICE actions violate due process and will send waves of fear throughout immigrant communities

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration intends to ramp up raids against Central American mothers and children fleeing violence, according to news reports from Reuters and other outlets.

In forging ahead with more of these planned raids, which were first announced in late 2015, the administration is turning a blind eye to the many serious due process violations that took place during the last round of raids, which have been repeatedly highlighted by attorneys, advocates, educators and elected officials, and the shockwaves of fear they set off throughout the immigrant community.

Attorneys with the National Immigration Law Center, who visited mothers detained during the first rounds of these raids, reported clear instances in which women were not fully aware of their legal rights or adequately informed of how to get in touch with their lawyers, even when they had strong asylum claims because they were afraid of being returned to their home countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—all of which rank as some of the most dangerous places in the world for women. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“These military-style raids against mothers and children fleeing violence are reprehensible. We are outraged that the Obama administration has once again decided to engage in a PR stunt that serves only to create fear and paralyze everyday life and civic participation in immigrant communities, in our schools, and in workplaces. The federal government’s failure to address the violent conditions that are causing women and children to flee in the first place mean that these raids are a complete and utter policy failure.

“The damage caused by such raids extends far beyond the families swept away and broken apart by them. Central American students will be kept away from schools for fear that they, too, will be detained and deported. U.S. citizen classmates of raid victims will be left without their friends. And entire immigrant communities will become even more afraid of participating fully in our communities and society.

“How these families fleeing violence are being treated reflects a blatant hemispheric bias. President Obama refuses to view increasing violence in Central America as a regional problem that needs a regional response and somehow denies that the people fleeing violent conditions in Central America are, like their Syrian counterparts across the globe and other vulnerable populations, simply seeking refuge.

“It is incomprehensible that President Obama continues to rely on this failed deterrence approach, which will do nothing to deter a mother’s decision to make the perilous journey north in order to save her family’s life. Instead, parents will fear sending their children to school or to a medical appointment. These proposed immigration raids will serve only to confuse immigrant communities about an administration that has detained and separated our families in record numbers.

“These raids—and his deportation record—could be President Obama’s immigration legacy. Those who hope to succeed him will have to work that much harder to regain the trust of immigrant voters and their allies, making their journey to the White House that much more difficult.”

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