Following their announcement at the end of last year, U.S. Immigration officials have begun execute their plan to deport undocumented Central American immigrants on final orders of deportation by staging ICE raids in Georgia and Texas over the weekend, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
At this time, it is now known how many people have been detained in either of the two states. Officials have only commented that they are not permitted to discuss ongoing operations with press.
Reports regarding the raids over the weekend have been conflicting. In Tyler, TX, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allegedly arrested patrons of a local establishment, Panadería Nuevo León, while 5 Central American families were allegedly arrested in Atlanta, Georgia.
One of the families detained in Atlanta, Ana Lizet Mejia and her nine-year-old son William, were detained after ICE officials entered her home with a warrant for a man that Mejia stated that she did not know.
Attorneys and advocates have noted that many Central American immigrants may be entrapped because of missed court dates or lack of attorney representation. Refugees are not guaranteed legal representation, and as a result, many are unable to afford the legal fees necessary to get private representation.
As he has stated before, Victor Neiblas, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), told reporters that this policy does not appropriately account for the refugee status of many immigrants fleeing Central America. “These Central American women and children are truly refugees seeking asylum; they fear for their lives. These women and children must have a meaningful chance to claim protection instead of being rushed back into harm’s way,” Nieblas told the Journal.