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Obama Administration begins rounding up thousands of Central American families for mass deportation

January 5, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Obama Administration begins rounding up thousands of Central American families for mass deportation 2014 Getty Images

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In what seems like something out of Donald Trump’s playbook, the Obama Administration has ordered U.S. Customs and Immigration agents to begin rounding up thousands of Central American immigrants for mass deportation.

The controversial raids began taking place in Texas and Georgia are part of the Obama administration strategy to avoid the same mass number Central American immigrants showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border that spurred the crisis in 2014.

Most of those immigrants arrived in family units in 2014, seeking political asylum in the U.S.

Although the border was a relatively calm last year, activity spiked toward the end of 2015.

In December, the Obama administration slowly began leaking plans to conduct a nationwide operation for the mass deportation of Central Americans who failed to comply with deportation orders.

The vast majority of the immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, are unaccompanied minors seeking opportunity and refuge in America because widespread gang violence and poverty in their countries.

Despite mounting criticism, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, defended the strategy on Monday, saying it was the vital to cease immigrants from illegally entering the U.S.

“I understand there are many who loudly condemn our enforcement efforts as far too harsh, but there are others, who will argue these actions don’t go far enough,” Johnson said.

He added “I also recognize the reality of the pain that deportations do in fact cause. But, we must enforce the law consistent with our priorities,”

“As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration,” he said. “If you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values,” said Johnson

The administration’s handling of the border surge has come under widespread criticism after it reached a crisis level in the summer of 2014.

Opponents of the White House argued that anyone who managed to get into the United States would be allowed to stay.

Pro-immigrant advocacy groups are blasting the administration’s decision to deport families, who failed to comply arguing they lacked legal counsel to file for political asylum.

“Instead of ensuring access to legal counsel and due process so eligibility for asylum can be properly determined, the federal government is sending these families back to the terror and violence they fled. America is better than this,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, told the Journal.

ICE officials in Georgia and Texas have refused to comment on the raids.

The WSJ cited an anonymous Department of Homeland Security source, who said: “Attempting to unlawfully enter the United States as a family unit does not protect individuals from being subject to the immigration laws of this country.”

“The repatriation of individuals with final orders of removal — including families and unaccompanied minors — to their home countries is part of our broader ongoing effort to address the rising surge of families and individuals arriving at our southern border,” the official said.

Immigration attorneys in Georgia and Texas called the government’s deportation efforts an overzealous reach and maintained they are unaware where ICE agents have taken many families after they were detained.

Atlanta-based attorney Charles Kuck, told the Journal of a mother and her three children, who were taken into custody after ICE agents “pretending to be looking for a ‘criminal,’ … asked to enter the house to check whether he was there.”

Kuck said, “We still have no idea where the family were taken.”

Some human rights groups wrote to President Barack Obama last week protesting the mass arrests of Central Americans.

During the months of October and November, Border Patrol Agents arrested 12,000 people in family units who arrived at the border, which is three times the number of migrants compared to those detained in 2014, during the months of the surge year.

At the height of 2014, 10,000 Central Americans, mostly minors were arriving each month, reaching crisis levels the Obama Administration seem all too eager to avoid.

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