Deportation Raids Planned One Week After Obama Said He Regrets Not Passing Reform
Last week, at the White House Cinco De Mayo celebration, President Barack Obama told attendees that one of his biggest regrets was not passing comprehensive immigration reform. Exactly one week later, Reuters reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning a monthlong series of raids over the next two months that will target Central American mothers and children.
According to Reuters:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.
Obama: Deporter in chief?
Deportations have skyrocketed under Obama, which has resulted in immigration advocates, and journalist Jorge Ramos, to refer to the President as “Deporter in Chief,” a label that has clearly gotten under his skin. To Obama’s credit, he did issue the executive orders that created Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), two programs that have provided deportation relief to millions of undocumented individuals. As we’ve reported previously, however, an extension of DACA and DAPA could be struck down by the Supreme Court.
What are the candidates saying?
STOP deportations. PROTECT families who fled the violence in Central America. EXTEND Temporary Protective Status. https://t.co/w9Y6FEnyGj
— Jane O'Meara Sanders (@janeosanders) May 12, 2016
Despite not being the most important issue to Latinos, immigration has been at the forefront of this year’s presidential race, thanks in large part to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and his claim that Mexico is sending rapists and drug dealers to the United States. So far, Trump has yet to mention the raids, choosing to tweet instead about his meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
On the democrats’ side, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have previously gone on record to say that they would not deport children if elected president. Clinton even made a point to hold a rally in East Los Angeles—one of the most Latino parts of Los Angeles County– on Cinco De Mayo to further stress her support for immigration reform. We reached out to both the Clinton and Sanders campaign for comment, but have yet to hear back. On social media, Clinton has not said a word about the raids. For his part, Sen. Sanders retweeted his wife (seen above), who is very much opposed to ICE’s plans.
Hillary Clinton’s camp sent us the following statement:
“I’m against large scale raids that tear families apart and sow fear in communities. I am concerned about recent news reports, and believe we should not be taking kids and families from their homes in the middle of the night. Families fleeing violence in Central America must be given a full opportunity to seek relief. And we need to take special care of children—which is why I’ve laid out a plan to guarantee all unaccompanied minors are provided access to counsel. We must also fix our asylum and refugee systems, and work with regional partners to strengthen conditions in Central America. We need a comprehensive plan to stop the root causes of the violence in Central America and expand orderly resettlement programs. Large scale raids are not productive and do not reflect who we are as a country.”
Likewise, Sanders criticized ICE’s actions:
Sending women and children back into harm’s way after they already fled horrendous violence in Central America is painful and inhumane, and must be stopped.
Senator Sanders also launched a petition, which you can view here.