"If past is prologue, and given the climate of intolerance and misplaced fear promoted by Republicans, we know immigration raids often lead to the erroneous targeting, detention, or deportation of people who do not qualify for a fast-tracked removal and were not afforded proper due process". "I am therefore extremely disappointed that this weekend the Department of Homeland Security began large-scale raids in our communities to deport families who made the perilous journey to flee extreme violence".
On Monday, DHS reported that 121 people who are in the United States illegally - most in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas - had been arrested by federal authorities for immediate deportation.
"They specified that families without criminal records would not be targeted", said Jennaya Dunlap, one of the rally organizers. Hillary Clinton's past support of such deportations set her apart.
"Our policies should be consistent with our historical commitment to provide protection to those fleeing violence and persecution".
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at Northstar Elementary School in Knoxville, Iowa, last week. An online petition calling on the president to end the raids has garnered over 35,000 signatures. A protest is planned for today in New York City. The actions drew condemnation from immigrant communiites and advocates. Yesterday, she said ICE had not carried out any raids in Washington state as part of the initiative targeting Central American migrants.
This most recent letter from Sanders calls for the administration to stop deporting the families and instead extend them temporary protected status, which would allow them to obtain employment and travel authorization, and would prevent them from being detained on the basis of their immigration status.
"This whole issue shows yet again how important it is to have good representation" said Doris Meissner, former commissioner of the then-U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. He continued, "Rounding up mothers and children who have fled the most violent region in the western hemisphere and are trying to find refuge abrogates our legal obligations to provide protection to refugees". These efforts by the Immigration police are nothing new and continue the same pattern of a heavy-handed enforcement approach to immigration reform ushered upon immigrants by the Administration of our "Deporter in Chief", Barack Obama.
Mass deportation of the 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.is a ridiculous idea.
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) President Victor Nieblas Pradis called the raids, "unconscionable and inherently wrong".
But 2017 will see a new occupant of the White House.
Renato Gonazalez of San Bernardino, marches with members and supporters of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ), denouncing the deportation of Central American refugee families, outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in San Bernardino on Thursday.