From January 2nd- 4th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted enforcement actions targeting immigrants who arrived to the United States after January 1, 2014, and had final orders of removal. DHS picked up 121 individuals in local communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. The individuals were identified by DHS as removal priorities according to the new Priority Enforcement Program, which was initiated by DHS Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum.
While the individuals picked up by DHS had deportation orders, serious due process concerns have been expressed about these cases. CLINIC, through its partnership with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, was able to help receive stays of deportation from the Board of Immigration Appeals in twelve cases, affecting thirty-three women and children. The work of the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project has provided nationally recognized data and advocacy demonstrating the access to justice and process issues.
In response to the actions, CLINIC and USCCB wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, condemning the targeting of Central American women and children and urging an end to the practice. CLINIC staff attended meetings with DHS Secretary Johnson, DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to advocate against future enforcement actions. There is concern and fear in communities about this enforcement action and future actions. CLINIC has put together a backgrounder explaining the recent actions and what to do in your community.
Please contact us with stories of local advocacy on this issue or stories of individuals affected by these actions in your community.