US Admits Some Families Detained For Deportation Qualify For Asylum

by
Kate Brown
A horrifying new report by Vice News proves beyond a doubt how brutal the new deportation raids have become, and how easily they can make a deadly mistake.

A horrifying new report by Vice News proves beyond a doubt how brutal the new deportation raids have become.

Under the Obama administration’s orders, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, with direction from The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have rounded up over 121 families and have prepared to send them back to their gang-ravaged homeland.

This nightmare, of course, wouldn’t be complete without horror stories spreading about these new raids.

Carol Martinez, who went to every single one of her immigration check-ins, claims that while awaiting a letter for whether or not she would be granted a stay of removal from deportation, ICE agents knocked on her door, ordered her to strip down to her underwear so they could make sure she wasn’t armed, then ordered her and her 11-year-old daughter to come with them, allowing them no time to pack.

Martinez also claims that the agents used intimidation to get her to sign her deportation papers — essentially signing her legal rights away.

"They said if I didn't sign them I'd spend five years in prison," she told Vice News.

Isamar Sanchez and her seven-year-old daughter are able to tell a different story.

While on the plane to be deported back to their homeland, an ICE agent called out her name and ordered her to deplane. The agent explained that “DHS had been mistaken — the families actually had one more chance to stay in the U.S.”

Sanchez, who awaits further details on her case in a South Texas Residential Facility, spoke with Vice News in a phone interview about the ordeal.

"I cried again, but this time with a hope I could go back to where I was before, to live with my boyfriend in Virginia," Sanchez said. "It's been a total nightmare for us."

Sanchez and her daughter are now allowed to stay in the United States indefinitely as they have been granted asylum.

kid in school bag

Recommended: Immigration Raids Detain 121 Central Americans Fleeing Violence

However, it brings up a disturbing question: what if DHS had waited just an hour longer to figure that out? Where would Sanchez and her daughter be now?

A horrifying study from the Guardian found that over “83 people deported to the Northern Triangle — the Central American region that includes El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — have been murdered between January 2014 and October 2015 after being returned to their home countries.”

This doesn’t deter Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who continues to affirm his stance on the raids.

"I know there are many who loudly condemn our enforcement efforts as far too harsh, while there will be others who say these actions don't go far enough," he said in a statement earlier this month. "I also recognize the reality of the pain that deportations do in fact cause. But, we must enforce the law consistent with our priorities. At all times, we endeavor to do this consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity.”

146 House Democrats disagree. In fact, they all signed a letter to the Obama administration, demanding a halt to the deportations.

"We strongly condemn DHS' recent enforcement operation targeting refugee mothers and children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala," the letter said, according to Vice News. "This operation should be immediately suspended until we can ensure no mother or child would be sent back to a country where they would face persecution, torture or death."

Hopefully this move will persuade the Obama administration to think of a more comprehensive, long-term solution to the problem at hand: people are fleeing drought, violence, torture, and death—what can we do to help?

Banner Image Credit: Metropolico.org/Flickr 

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