Word has come today that ICE is apparently planning new raids to arrest some Central American children and their mothers who have already been ordered deported by an immigration judge. Although these raids are likely to lead to a relatively small number of arrests, they are already worrying many people in immigrant communities around Long Island.
Reports of raids in four states in January that led to only 121 arrests set off waves of panic throughout the United States, with many immigrants staying away from work and refusing to let their children attend school.
The planned upcoming raids, if they occur, are likely to be smaller in size than those in January. Although the details of who the raids will target are hazy at this time, a report from the Reuters news agency indicates that those who will be captured are mothers and children who were arrested at the border and who were ordered deported by an immigration court. Some unaccompanied children who are now over 18 may also be deported if they have orders of deportation from a court.
According to Reuters, the raids are expected to begin sometime in June and last 30 days.
Over the last six months there has been an increase in the number of mothers bringing their children to the U.S. to escape the growing violence in Central America. Advocates believe that the Department of Homeland Security will conduct these raids, limited as they are likely to be, in a high-profile manner with reporters in tow. The raids will receive the maximum possible publicity. The design, apparently, is to spread panic to discourage the mothers from heading north.
My advice to immigrants is not to fall for this cynical plan. Very few people will be targeted in these raids. These will not be generalized “round-ups” of the undocumented. There will not be raids on restaurants, or factories, or 7-11s. ICE cannot conduct raids at churches or schools. The few raids that will occur will mostly be at the homes of those who were already ordered deported, so staying home to avoid arrest is a really bad strategy.
The news that raids are planned should disgust everyone who reads this. The moms and kids who will be arrested will be deported to three of the most dangerous countries in the world. They are not going to be placed in danger for any reason other than that the Department of Homeland Security wants to show Central America’s most vulnerable children that they too will be deported if they come here for safety. Whole Latino communities will be sent into needless panics as the raids are carried out. Homeland Security views the trauma it will cause as mere collateral damage in its campaign to keep little boys and girls in a war zone funded by American drug money paid to gangs armed with American weapons.
I beg you to call President Obama today and tell him to stop this plan to use innocent children in this horrible political plan. Call 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama to stop the raids against Central American child refugees.
For those interested there will be Know Your Rights presentations all through May. Please keep visiting the Long Island Wins website for constant information and updates. Call 516-489-8330 for more info.