Deportation Raids of Central Americans in the U.S. Begin

In 2014, the number of children from Central America, specifically the northern triangle, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, who crossed the border of the United States illegally surged. In fact, according the Department of Homeland Security, the number of children that have been caught at the border almost doubled last year.1 Conditions in their home countries, such as extreme poverty and gang violence, have led children to make the dangerous journey north, in hopes of increasing their quality of life.1

Recently, the federal government has decided to crack down on Central American immigration by executing a series of raids that will deport hundreds of families that have entered into the country in the past year.2 This month the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be deporting adults and children from Central America who have arrived in the past year, but only those who have been ordered to leave by immigration judges.2 The first weekend of this year, ICE took 121 people into custody from Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.3

The White House press secretary Josh Earnest made a statement about this removal effort stating, “[The administration] prioritized the cases of recent arrivals, individuals who recently crossed the border without proper documentation…[The efforts are] consistent with the priorities The President himself talked about, deporting felons not families, with a focus on individuals who only recently crossed the border.”3 Essentially, through Earnest’s statement, the Obama administration claims that these raids are a way to remove people who recently immigrated illegally and after due process, have been denied claims of asylum, and therefore should be deported. The Department of Homeland Security officials refused to give statistics to The Washington Post on those seized in the raids such as country of origin and the number of children apprehended.3 Furthermore, Earnest goes on to say, “People should take from this the understanding that the administration is quite serious when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.”This new deportation initiative seems to be a display of authority of the immigration officials, meant to make an example of recent immigrants and more importantly, to deter more Central Americans from crossing the border.

Since the Obama administration’s statement about this deportation wave, many have criticized the plan. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have vocalized concerns about the deportations and want the administration to give families subject to the raids legal protection.4 Legal specialists, such as Wendy Young, executive director of an agency in the capital that gives legal counsel, stated “The Obama administration is putting families and children on the same level as criminals and terrorists.”4 Additionally, across the country in major metropolitan areas with large Central American populations such as Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Chicago, activists and agencies have begun campaigns to inform those who could be deported of their rights.5

Overall, because the deportation effort is so new, there have been limited reports about the implementation of this plan. Since 2016 is a presidential election year, these deportations will most likely become more controversial in the media and become political fodder for the presidential hopefuls.




1) Gonzalez-Barrera, Ana, Jens Manuel Krogstad, and Mark Hugo Lopez. "DHS: Violence, Poverty, Is Driving Children to Flee Central America to U.S." Pew Research Center. N.p., 01 July 2014. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. Available at: <

2) Markon, Jerry, and David Nakamura. "U.S. Plans Raids to Deport Families Who Surged across Border." The Washington Post. N.p., 23 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. Available at: <

3) Rein, Lisa. "U.S. Authorities Begin Raids, Taking 121 Illegal Immigrants into Custody over the Weekend." The Washington Post. N.p., 4 Jan. 2015. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. Available at: <

4) Constable, Pamela. "Deportation Raids to Continue, despite Outcry." The Washington Post. N.p., 8 Jan. 2016. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. Available at: <

5) Ortiz, Fiona. "Central American Immigrants Scramble for Options to Deportation by U.S." Reuters. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. Available at: <>.


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