Immigration Raids Begin In January, Hundreds Of Families To Be Deported [Video]

Immigration raids will begin in January, and the target is hundreds of families who illegally entered the United States last year. The deportations will be carried out by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Over 100,000 families, including adults and children, have been ordered by a judge to leave the country and will be deported.

The immigrants who will be targeted are those who fled Central American violence in 2014, according to a PBS report. Gillian Christensen, an ICE spokeswoman, said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced in November, 2014, that ICE would focus on those “who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”

“As Secretary Johnson has consistently said, our border is not open to illegal immigration, and if individuals come here illegally, do not qualify for asylum or other relief, and have final orders of removal, they will be sent back consistent with our laws and our values.”

The above refers to individuals who were arrested while trying to enter the U.S. illegally and others that immigration judges have ordered removed. Individuals would be detained wherever they are located and deported immediately. The numbers are expected to be in the hundreds, but possibly greater.

The Obama administration began discussing immigration raids in 2014, and Johnson is promoting the move because of an upsurge in the number of illegal immigrants in the last several months. Factors contributing to the increase are a rise in the murder rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras along with insufficient water in the region.

When the influx began in early 2014, families were released and given a later date to appear in immigration court. A determination would then be made if they would be granted asylum. Some did not show up, while others’ asylum claims were rejected — they were then assigned an order of deportation. Legal experts say immigrants are not given sufficient representation and often don’t understand court asylum procedures, per a CBS News report.

DHS opened family detention centers to accommodate the immigrants, one in Pennsylvania and two in Texas. There are now more than 1,700 individuals housed in these facilities, the Washington Post noted. Although by law, they must be treated humanely, representatives said conditions are overcrowded and the needs of women and children are often unmet.

The Obama administration had to redefine how it handled the families, which led to Johnson’s new set of immigration enforcement rules in late 2014. President Barack Obama then signed an executive order that would prevent the deportation of 5 million immigrants.

Since that time, Obama’s order has been blocked by the courts. Johnson vowed to expedite the deportation of those who did not receive asylum, and stated that DHS “will also continue to expedite, to the greatest extent possible, the removal of those who are not eligible for relief under our laws,” adding “We take seriously our obligation to secure our borders,” added the Washington Post.

In light of the U.S. policy on admission for Syrian refugees, immigration advocates state it is hypocritical to embrace Syrian refugees while Central American ones are rejected. Greg Chen, the advocacy director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said Central American asylum issues should be treated as a “humanitarian problem” — not a border control issue, added CBS News.

Chen also stated more should be done to protect the immigrants’ rights, and professionals with social work or child welfare backgrounds should assist detainees, instead of border patrol agents.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]