In December, President Obama announced that agents of the Department of Homeland Security were preparing to crack down on illegal immigration from Central American countries. This past week, the Obama administration carried through with that threat.
In a series of raids, agents in Georgia and Texas have begun detaining undocumented immigrants and forcibly deporting them to their home countries. These raids have included the detention of women and children. Thus far, the scope of the raids has been limited to only those individuals who had missed scheduled immigration hearings and court dates.
Illinois immigration lawyer Ronald Shapiro chastised the raids by stating, “These raids show how seriously broken the immigration system is. The women and children taken into custody during these raids are the most vulnerable immigrants in America. DHS is treating them like hardened criminals instead of the economic and political refugees they are.”
Presently, the raids are limited to Georgia and Texas. However, there is every reason to believe that undocumented immigrants from other states will soon be targeted. Indeed, President Obama has made it clear that it’s only a matter of time before this happens. Indeed, these raids may violate the constitutional rights of the immigrants themselves.
“The raids have been protested by more than 150 civil rights groups, as well as organizations focusing on the welfare of women and children. Deporting these individuals to their home countries will sentence many to a life of poverty, disease, and early graves,” lamented Illinois immigration attorney Ronald Shapiro.
Many of these families are from El Salvador and Honduras. They have fled their homelands as violence from criminal gangs skyrockets. All told, these raids could affect tens of thousands of individuals. Should the government deport them, many will find themselves homeless, jobless, and penniless. This will make them easy targets for the gangs who will be all too eager to take advantage of their misfortune.
These raids highlight precisely why real, genuine, effective immigration reform is needed in the United States. The lives and livelihoods of these and many other families depend upon it.