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In response to the Obama Administration’s series of home raids aimed at arresting, detaining and deporting young mothers and their children back to Central America and the violence they fled in the first place, leading lawmakers are beginning to speak out to condemn the Administration’s actions.
America’s Voice thanks the below lawmakers for their leadership and will be tracking additional lawmaker statements and reactions on our website.
Senator Robert Menendez: “I have deep concerns of the chilling effect these home raids will have among immigrant communities who will understandably be terrified and deterred from approaching law enforcement to report crimes and forced further into the shadows. As we begin to get more details on these operations, let’s not overlook the devastating effect and cost to spending our limited DHS funds on deporting women and children and not violent felons.”
Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Linda Sánchez: “Raiding people’s homes to forcibly break families apart is not what our country stands for. Our federal government should not be separating parents from their children. As the mother of a young son, it’s easy for me to imagine how traumatizing having ICE agents storm someone’s home and tearing families apart can be for a young child. Invading homes is inhumane and adds to the trauma of these families fleeing violence and oppression. Many recent immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are escaping one of the most dangerous regions in the world. In the past, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has spoken in defense of the unaccompanied minors fleeing the Central American countries. These minors could be our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews.”
Representative Luis Gutiérrez: “The government is saying they could be coming to your house and they could be coming at any time. Already, we are seeing signs of panic. We hear that children are not going to school and parents are not going to work out of fear. Not even a week into the New Year and 2016 has turned into one of fear and hiding. I have gone to the detention centers in Texas and met with the moms and kids who were detained there when they came in. One woman summed up their plight concisely by saying, ‘In Honduras, my family and I could live in poverty, but we could not live in peace.’ Raids will not bring her peace. Raids will not bring us order. Raids will only bring misery.’ This is not the Democratic Party’s solution to immigration questions, nor should it be America’s. We expect heated calls for raids and deportation from the other side. We hear their calls for walls, bigger jails, and further restrictions on legal immigration. We will fight their efforts to erect religious or economic barriers to who can qualify for a chance to come to America. Our Party has rejected those calls, with good reason. Americans want order and legality in immigration, not deportations and families forcibly split apart or exiled.”
Representative Chris Van Hollen: Rep. Van Hollen called the raids, “The wrong approach that’s causing unthinkable heartache.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Instead of viewing this as an immigration enforcement issue, this should be treated as a refugee crisis. Instead of raiding homes and deporting vulnerable families, we should protect refugees from some of the most violent countries in the world. Instead of sending young mothers and their children back to where death, extortion, forced recruitment and sexual abuse are rampant, we should be devising regional and root cause strategies that are humane and workable.”