Central American countries alarmed by US immigration raids

On Wednesday countries in Central America were given the first groups of citizens who had been deported from the United States as a result of tough new raids against undocumented immigrants. The raids by the Obama administration started last weekend.

The operation is intended to rid the United States of undocumented immigrants who have crossed over the border since early 2014 and have already been ordered to be deported by immigration judges. This takes place at a politically fiery time in the US, with the presidential campaign devoting a lot of its focus to the controversial issue. Republicans – and particularly their presidential candidate nominee frontrunner, Donald Trump − believe that more needs to be done to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the US, putting pressure on the White House.

121 undocumented immigrants − adults and children alike − were last weekend rounded up to be deported and more expected to be apprehended soon, according to Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Most of those targeted come from Central America and particularly El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which are in the grip of rampant violence, poverty and corruption. El Salvador has become the murder capital of the entire world, statistics suggest.

On Sunday the government of El Salvador gave tips to its citizens in the United States, telling them to remain calm if immigration agents come to their home. “If you have immigration papers, present them,” the statement says. “If not, ask immediately to contact your attorney or the nearest consulate of El Salvador.”