WASHINGTON, D.C.—This weekend, federal immigration agents launched a series of raids across the country targeting Central Americans who have entered the United States since the summer of 2014. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) President and CEO Janet Murguía expressed deep concern about the impact of these raids on children, families and communities and for those who are being deported to countries where extreme violence poses a direct threat to their lives.
“The government should not deport anyone with a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries, as required by U.S. law, international agreements, and frankly, basic humanity,” said Murguía. “While we endorsed steps taken 18 months ago by the administration to strengthen support for legal service providers and applaud the heroic efforts of the many legal organizations and individual lawyers who have volunteered their time and resources to provide legal counsel to those fleeing widespread violence in their home countries, we fear that some of those on the brink of deportation may not have had an adequate opportunity to apply for asylum or assert another claim that could protect them from removal.”
“We are especially concerned that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are engaging in community raids, a practice that NCLR has long opposed and that the administration wisely reduced several years ago,” added Murguía. “Such raids often undermine the rights of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident family members, as well as innocent bystanders. And as importantly, these types of raids undercut trust between law enforcement and the community, deterring people from reporting crimes or other threats to public safety. They ultimately make all of us less, not more, secure.”