Last Friday, 22 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus led by Senators Dick Durbin (IL) and Pat Leahy (VT) called on Obama to halt the ongoing deportation raids targeting Central American refugees and to consider granting them temporary protected status. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey were both among the signers.
Here are some key passages.
We are deeply concerned that in its eagerness to deter additional arrivals from this region, the Department is returning vulnerable individuals with valid protection claims to life-threatening violence. This is not hyperbole. There have been multiple reports of individuals, including children, being killed within days or weeks of their deportation. Moreover, we do not accept the argument that removing these individuals will deter additional children and families from fleeing the Northern Triangle. That argument relies on the false premise that most of these people are not fleeing extraordinary danger….The global refugee crisis has provided countless examples of people taking enormous risks against all odds in order to escape persecution and there is no reason to believe that is any less true for those in Central America.
It is important to evaluate this as a humanitarian and refugee crisis involving a vulnerable population and not strictly as a border security and immigration enforcement matter. Targeting families contradicts the administration’s repeated commitment to focus its enforcement resources on removing felons not families.
Given the particular risks faced by these mothers and children, the tactic of using widely publicized, aggressive removal operations – often in the wee hours of the morning – is shocking and misguided. These raids have created widespread fear in immigrant communities around the country, and damaged trust in local law enforcement. Raids of this nature are not appropriate when the federal government is interacting with vulnerable children and will only exacerbate the trauma experienced by these children. We ask that you stop these aggressive raids against children and their families and rely on more appropriate approaches to fulfilling court orders.
There have also been multiple reports that individuals targeted by these raids were not provided meaningful due process or access to competent counsel. This is deeply concerning as it undermines the legitimacy of our immigration court system. We ask that you slow down the fast-track immigration process forced on many of these families and unaccompanied children, to ensure that this particularly vulnerable population is able to receive meaningful due process, access to counsel, and a full and fair hearing of their legal claims.
The letter is long, but you can read it in full here.
Massachusetts was one of six states whose two senators were both signers. The others were Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Vermont.
House Democrats had sent their own letter the previous week.
(adapted from a post on the Daily Kos)
California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman joined forced with former Republican Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a similar call to on Obama to halt deportation raids for fear of losing their housekeepers, nannies, and gardeners.
In a statement, they urged President Obama to consider the pain and undue suffering each family would have to endure with the added financial costs of hiring legal citizens who negotiate as free citizens in the free market for fair wages.
Peter Porcupine says
Isn’t the theme on this site that illegal aliens have no downward effect on wages? Do they or not?
…but that’s an argument for bringing them out of the shadows and legislating higher wages, not for keeping them away.
for calling on President Obama to halt deportation raids.
Fred Rich LaRiccia