LOS ANGELES (Jan. 8, 2016) — Over the first weekend of 2016, the Obama Administration began unconscionable raids on homes and workplaces of Central American refugees who came to the United States in the past year.
Many of these families and unaccompanied minors fled horrific violence from their home countries and sought refuge in the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is currently conducting raids and have apprehended and taken into custody about 121 individuals who mainly reside in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. Community members all over the country have reported sightings of ICE agents and vans in their neighborhoods. In response, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a national affiliation of five Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) civil rights organizations, released the following statement:
The recent raids initiated by the Obama Administration over the past week violate our nation’s deepest values of compassion and humanity. As civil rights organizations, we condemn the raids and we call on the Obama Administration, in particular, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and ICE Director Sarah Saldaña, to halt these inhumane deportation raids that are terrorizing immigrants, specifically the Central American community.
The raids being conducted by ICE only create further distrust between immigrant communities and the Obama Administration, which has deported record numbers of immigrants. For those taken into custody, we urge the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama Administration to ensure that anyone apprehended in these raids is given due process as required by law. We urge the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama Administration to extend Temporary Protected Status to Central American asylum seekers and discontinue inhumane raids.
In addition, we call on the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and other elected officials to follow the lead of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and vocally condemn these raids that are tearing families apart.
We urge community members to remain vigilant and be aware of their rights when encountering immigration agents. Learn more about your rights here.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Chicago, and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.