Just before the Christmas holidays, immigration officials announced that they would be enacting a plan to round up and deport Central Americans immigrants who have been ordered removed by U.S. immigration judges. This move is reportedly intended to send a message to Central American immigrants that they cannot stay in the United States, even if they arrive in the country safely.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing for a series of raids that will detain both adults and children wherever they may be found.
Officials who spoke to the Post report that Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has been pushing to enact this measure for the last few months in response to the recent influx of Central American immigrants.
2015 is the first time in the last few years that immigration rates from this area have risen in the fall and winter months, when getting across the border uninspected becomes more difficult. Unaccompanied minors from the area surged to the U.S.-Mexico border in the summer of 2014, but border officials have seen resurgence in the number of minors fleeing to the border starting in October of 2015.
Experts inside and outside of the Obama administration cite the increasing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as one of the biggest reasons for the increase. El Salvador, in particular, is “on track this year to become the ‘murder capital of the world,’” according to officials cited by the New York Times.
“This may be the new normal,” said Marc Rosenblum, the deputy director of the U.S. immigration policy program at the Migration Policy Institute. “Everything that was going on in 2014 that caused people to flee is as bad or worse now. Violence in El Salvador is worse, the whole region is amidst a two-year drought, more families are experiencing food insecurity, there’s political turbulence in Guatemala. Those are strong pressures that will cause people to try to get here.”
If you or someone you know is concerned about these upcoming changes in policy, please feel free to call our office for a consultation at (404) 523-3611. We are experienced in handling crisis immigration cases, and would be happy to consult with you or your relatives on possible filing options.