A total of 55 immigration courts across the country have issued 10,142 deportation orders to Central American minors who have illegally arrived in the United States unaccompanied by an adult since 2014. Of those orders 8912 were issued in absentia, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Justice Department.
Immigration advocates claim that federal agents towards the end of January started to arrest undocumented immigrants who were Central American minors but are now aged over 18 years. “Immigration and Customs Enforcement is undoubtedly waiting for them to become adults in order to arrest them – that is the pattern of every one of the young people who have been captured in Charlotte” says Ana Miriam Carpio from the Salvadoran Union.
Charlotte’s Latin American Coalition executive director Jose Hernandez Paris said that during a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), they appealed with a request to not arrest young people while they were waiting for the school bus. The officials refused to refer to the them as students, insisting only in calling them “adults”.
Paris said that Charlotte should not accept any strategy that threatens the safety of minors and isolates a community that is now an important part of the city. He added that ICE has 15 to 20 Charlotte high school students targeted for deportation.
Since the year started Immigration and Customs Enforcement has intended to carry out repatriation orders in as speedy a manner as possible in order to send a message to countries in Central America that those who enter the US illegally will be sent back.