As you may have heard in the news, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (also known as “ICE”) has recently been engaging in immigration raids all over the country. In a recent statement, Jeh C. Johnson, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, states that the focus of these removals were adults and children who:
In other words, ICE’s recent raids were not focused on those unlikely to fit into one of the above categories. However, this does not quell the fears of many undocumented individuals currently in the country, who believe that they or someone they love could be deported next.
In fact, many of the individuals apprehended were women and children who crossed the border in the spring of 2014, many of whom fled to escape gang-related and domestic violence in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. They may have a legal claim for asylum based on a genuine fear of returning to their home country.
Secretary Johnson continues that, “as part of these operations, 121 individuals were taken into custody, primarily from Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina, and they are now in the process of being repatriated. To effect removal, most families are first being transported to one of ICE’s family residential centers for temporary processing before being issued travel documents and boarding a return flight to their home countries” and a number of precautions were taken, such as having medical and female personnel available.
Another alarming issue is that minors traveling without parents are coming into the United States at an increasing rate. For instance, border agents apprehended about 10,600 minors in October and November 2015, versus about 5,100 during those months in 2014. The issue of where to house the children in the meantime, as well as their treatment, are raising grave humanitarian and social concerns that must addressed.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a press release that “
politics did not factor
” into the decision by DHS to conduct raids, meaning that DHS made the decision independent of the influence of recent Presidential campaigns, but many are skeptical of the neutrality of the raids. Either way, this is an important issue that will have a significant impact on the future of our country.
If you have any questions about the recent immigration raids or what to do if you are someone you know is apprehended by ICE, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (973) 542-0200. We also have trained staff to speak in Spanish and Gujarati.