While most Americans were preparing for Christmas celebrations and buying presents for their families, US authorities were planning raids on illegal migrants in Georgia, Texas and other states. The first arrests took place right after the holidays, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday. The DHS also constituted that the first wave of mass deportations of those who lost their asylum cases could impact as many as 15,000 people.
The advocacy organization #Not1More Deportation reported that during mass arrests in the Atlanta area Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stormed into the homes of undocumented immigrants not even showing warrants and removed mothers and children as young as 4 years old.
"They took away children so young they would've needed car seats in their vehicles for them," said executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights Adelina Nicholls in a statement released Sunday.
The new year has just begun, and at least 11 families have already been taken to the so-called "ICE family residential centers" from where they will be sent back to predominantly Central American countries which they had fled out of fear for their security.
According to Times' reports, women at the centers said they fled "because gangs had murdered their husbands or siblings, tried to recruit their sons or threatened sexual violence against their daughters."
An inquiry carried out by the Guardian in October provided evidence that there were cases when those deported were murdered soon after they landed in their motherland. Deportation, thus, may be equal to death sentence.
Nevertheless, human rights activists continue to say it's inhuman to deport little children to such dangerous places.
"The DHS is spending more resources hunting 9-year-olds than it does to respond to the blatant violations in its own agency," director of the national #Not1More Campaign Marisa Franco said. "These raids are part of a pattern of abuse and intimidation woven into the fabric of the immigration enforcement agency."
The arrests came a year and a half after Obama publicly claimed he wanted to try and make his immigration policy more humane, Franco sadly noted.