United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents will begin a nationwide campaign to deport those who crossed the border illegally.
Most affected will be those who fled violence in Central America to the U.S. in the past year.
ICE will target both adults and children who have already been ordered to be deported by an immigration judge.
The Department of Homeland Security has not yet approved the plan.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, violence in Central American countries like Honduras has surged in the past year.
This year, Honduras became the most violent country not at war, and the murder rate in El Salvador surpassed its previous post-war record.
Central American nations are preparing for the return of many of their ex-pats.
“We have been informed about the decision of senior US officials to begin deporting family units and non-accompanied minors,” said Liduvina Magarin, deputy minister for Salvadorans abroad. “It is a regrettable decision by the US government (that affects) our Salvadoran families.”
The move to have ICE deport migrants from the United States has been a controversial decision withing the Obama Administration, with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson particularly pushing strongly for it.
Immigration advocacy groups have come out with extreme criticism against this decision, indicating that should the Administration follow through, they might have a fight on their hands.
“It would be an outrage if the administration subjected Central American families to even more aggressive enforcement tactics,” said Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This administration has never acknowledged the truth: that these families are refugees seeking asylum who should be given humanitarian protection rather than being detained or rounded up. When other countries are welcoming far more refugees, the U.S. should be ashamed for using jails and even contemplating large-scale deportation tactics.”
Back in September, Secretary Johnson outlined his stance in favor of deportation tactics.
“(We) will also continue to expedite, to the greatest extent possible, the removal of those who are not eligible for relief under our laws,’’ Johnson said in a September statement. “We take seriously our obligation to secure our borders.’’
[Washington Post] [Yahoo News] [Council on Foreign Relations] [The Guardian]