The Obama Administration and the Department of Homeland security are making plans to hunt down and deport hundreds – maybe thousands – of illegal immigrants. The campaign is rumored to begin in January. ICE agents will target only families who have already been ordered to leave the country.
While this surge has been downplayed by other immigration problems, more than 100,000 families from violent Central America have illegally crossed into the US during the past year. According to The Washington Post, officials are being coy about the details of the plan and DHS has yet to give its final approval. The entire campaign is viewed as controversial by our immigrant-loving president.
Jeh Johnson of the DHS is a strong supporter of the campaign. He feels the need to do something as the rate of illegal immigration increases and has stated publically for months now that families who have been asked to leave by a judge will soon face deportation. Pressure for deportations has also increased after a recent court decision that ordered the DHS to start releasing families held in detention centers.
Others worry about the plan’s flaws and claim abuse. They point out that many of these families have fled violence in Guatamala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
“It would be an outrage if the administration subjected Central American families to even more aggressive enforcement tactics,” says Gregory Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This administration has never acknowledged the truth: “that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained or rounded up. When other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the US should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics.”
Those who call for strict immigration limits, however, worry that these raids won’t be enough.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” says immigration expert Mark Kirkorian. “What share is this going to be? … It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the number they’ve admitted into the country. If you have photogenic raids on a few dozen illegal families and that’s the end of it, it’s just for show. It’s just a [public relations] thing, enforcement theater.”
No doubt the White House is looking to placate a country that is begging for an answer to the ongoing surge of illegal and refugee immigration. So as Obama plans to import thousands of refugees from the Middle East next year, he is ‘taking action’ by deporting few Central American families now.