Georgia political leaders met at 12pm today at Atlanta’s Immigration Court with plans to march to the Statehouse in protest of ICE raids targeting Central American undocumented families who entered the country after 2014.
Organizers from We Belong Together, an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, put together the march, following one held last week by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR).
“We are deeply saddened that in the wake of President Obama’s powerful action against gun violence, mothers and children fleeing violence in Central America continue to live in fear within our borders, while ICE agents barge into people’s homes without warrant and seize children as young as 4 years old,” said Andrea Cristina Mercado, co-chair of We Belong Together and the Campaign Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, in a press release for the event.
These protests have been mirrored in Washington, D.C., with congressional leaders and advocates speaking out the deportations in a rally outside the White House last Friday. Chief among them has been Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has been vocal on immigration issues throughout his time in Congress. “Congress cannot sit idly by. We, too, are responsible,” he said to reporters of the legislative branches’ complicity for the increasing violence in Central America. Gutierrez, along with other Congressional leaders, reportedly met with White House officials regarding the policy on Thursday.
Nevertheless, Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Friday that although the administration has been listening to the public outcry on this issue, “enforcement strategy and priorities that the administration has articulated are not going to change.”
Though immigration attorneys are working hard to both combat the raids and protect clients from deportation, legal research organizations are beginning to get involved at the policy level. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to look into questions of the legal conduct of ICE in their deportation initiatives. In a press release posted to their website, Eunice Cho of SPLC wrote, “We must ensure that ICE, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, adheres to the highest standards of conduct. Sanctioning its use of illegal tactics endangers the rights of all Americans to be safe and secure in their homes.”