The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has lambasted the round-up of 121 undocumented immigrants this past weekend. A statement made Tuesday by the chair of the congressional organization, which focuses on issues affecting Latino communities, adds to the numerous civil rights and immigrant groups that have expressed concern over the raids, which targeted adults and children who have been apprehended at the U.S. southern border since May 2014.
“Raiding people’s homes to forcibly break families apart is not what our country stands for. Our federal government should not be separating parents from their children,” Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement. “As the mother of a young son, it’s easy for me to imagine how traumatizing having ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents storm someone’s home and tearing families apart can be for a young child.”
— Hispanic Caucus (@HispanicCaucus) January 6, 2016
The individuals targeted in the raids were ordered to be deported after running out of legal options, including asylum claims, according to a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security. Most of the targeted individuals were in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina.
Those detained were expected to be held at family residential centers for processing before being repatriated to their home countries. The raids were condemned by the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, and other rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. Some Democrats and immigrant-rights groups condemned the Obama administration for the raids.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) January 4, 2016
Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, an immigration advocacy group, said the raids were "something we would expect from a President Trump," referring to the GOP front-runner who has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, according to Politico.
"When this happened during the Bush presidency, then-candidate [Barack] Obama denounced it. The fact that it is happening now under a President Obama is outrageous,” Sharry said.
— Janet Murguía (@JMurguia_NCLR) January 5, 2016
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said authorities have stepped up actions to reduce illegal immigration into the U.S. since a wave of unaccompanied children turned up at the southern border in 2014. In a statement, he said “removals” of undocumented immigrants have increased since then, now averaging about 14 flights per week.
“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.”