In a climate of intense scrutiny and activism relating to the global refugee and immigration crisis, the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia has has established a hotline to field tips on illegal immigrants in response to activities within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The immigration news that NSM’s hotline is open means increased raids on immigrant families are expected under Obama’s immigration reform, and deportation of those families – largely from Central America – resulting from those raids.
Obama’s immigration reform focuses on identifying and deporting men, women and children who have entered the United States illegally since 2014.
The immigration hotline is open 24 hours a day and carries the threat of ‘rapid response’ teams to apprehend any illegal immigrants identified from news and tips given by callers, according to Philly News.
“As the Obama administration gears up for a priority crackdown on immigrants — mainly women and children from Central America — who have entered the U.S. illegally since 2014, the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia has set up a 24-hour hotline for tips about immigration enforcement raids, and ‘rapid response’ teams to rally around those who are arrested,” reports Philly News.
Humanitarian and various religious and spiritual groups have rallied to protest against the immigration news hotline and the increased deportation raids likely to be enacted by the Department of Homeland Security as a result.
The establishment of the 24-hour hotline for tips on illegal immigrants is just the latest in a longer-term battle on immigration for the U.S. federal government. Obama’s administration faced a crisis in 2014 when tens of thousands of migrants – some men, but mostly women and children – arrived at North America’s southernmost border and crossed illegally.
“Supporters said they were refugees seeking asylum from violence and political oppression in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, where boys often are forced to join gangs, and gang leaders prey on young girls for sex. Some children fled unaccompanied to the United States.”
“Others sought asylum in the company of a parent, usually a mother,” said Philly News of the illegal immigration crisis that led to Obama’s immigration reform.
According to Telesur News, the latest deportation sweep saw U.S. immigration officials arrest 40 women and children from Central American families in Texas, North Carolina, and South Dakota. A statement issued by Jennifer Elzea of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that the threat of deportation only applies to those who have not yet lodged a claim for asylum.
“We stress that these operations are limited to those who were apprehended at the border after January 1, 2014, have been ordered removed by an immigration court, and have no pending appeal or pending claim for asylum,” said Elzea.
The Department of Homeland Security also said that the illegal immigration hotline and nationwide raids are “intended to deter undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala from entering the United States,” rather than spark fear among long-established immigrant families living in America. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration released a statement condemning the raids because of the panic they cause among Central American families who may be split up if the family migrated to America at different times.
“These operations spark panic among our parishes,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo in the statement.
“No person, migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and returned to danger.”
Elizondo also implored that the scale and depravity of gang violence in Central America – including ‘sexualized killings’ – is on a level of horrors committed by ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups around the Middle East and in Africa.
The immigration news that Homeland Security’s hotline is open could mean increased raids of this kind on immigrant families are expected under Obama’s immigration reform. Deportation of those families – largely from Central America suffering unthinkable atrocities – is likely to result from those raids.
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