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Immigration Law

150+ Groups Oppose 'Operation Border Guardian' - Letter to White House, DHS

Letter to White House, DHS, Mar. 30, 2016 - "We, the undersigned organizations that serve and advocate for the protection of children and youth, trafficking victims, refugees, and asylum seekers from around the world, write to express deep concern regarding continued raids upon Central American families and children. We ask the administration to stop targeting these individuals, the vast majority of whom have come to the United States fleeing violence and seeking safety.

We were extremely concerned to see the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) press release of March 9, 2016, which described the recent apprehension through raids of 336 individuals, part of a program that DHS has named “Operation Border Guardian.” The very title of this operation points to a much larger problem: DHS’s treatment of a humanitarian situation primarily as a border security issue. More specifically, the operation will have the effect of returning refugees to face persecution and is already creating a climate of fear across immigrant communities.

The operation directs DHS agents to enforce removal orders that were issued in legal proceedings that lacked basic due process. Because your administration has consistently advocated for comprehensive immigration reform, you know all too well the many ways in which the deck is stacked against asylum-seeking youth and families in our currently broken system. Most leave our border processing facilities unaware of their legal obligations or immigration process requirements. The majority will never have counsel to help them in court - despite the fact that the single biggest determining factor for access to immigration relief is whether a child has an attorney."