New figures show that immigration authorities operating out of an ICE field office in Atlanta have detained the largest number of immigrants — 127 — out of any other ICE field office in the United States.
If you’ve been keeping up on the tragic news reports about Central American teens arrested by ICE on their way to school, this probably doesn’t come at any surprise. One of these kids is Kimberly, a Georgia 10th grader whose deportation was halted, yet still remains in ICE detention more than five weeks after her arrest.
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
In all, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has apprehended 336 people as part of “Operation Border Guardian.” The focus, according to ICE, is on people who came here illegally as unaccompanied children after Jan. 1 of 2014, who are now older than 18, who have been ordered removed by immigration judges and who do not have pending appeals or claims of asylum or other relief.
ICE could not provide a state-by-state breakdown of where the 336 people were taken into custody. Instead, the federal agency this week released numbers by its field offices, some of which cover more than one state, like the Atlanta office.
The Obama Administration seems to be using aggressive tactics — like these ICE raids — as a tactic to discourage further youth from attempting the dangerous journey from Central America to our border.
But, this is the wrong approach to use. These kids are facing chaotic situations back in their home countries — Kimberly and her sister escaped threats of sexual assault from gangs in Honduras, and their stepdad was kidnapped by corrupt police — and they deserve due process here in the United States, not a fast-track back to death and violence.
As AV’s Lynn Tramonte commented on this crisis earlier this month: “When is our government going to recognize that this is a refugee situation, and respond with humanitarianism and care? How many young people will be deported back to gangs and death until then? The way our government is treating young people who fled gangs and violence is simply unconscionable. What on earth are we thinking?”