Refugee advocates said on Thursday that mixed signals are being sent by the Obama administration to immigrants from Central America. On the one hand, the administration is detaining and deporting families that have fled from the region to the United States; on the other, it is increasing the amount of resources available for asylum seekers in the same area.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US will be working alongside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to increase opportunities for people from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to submit applications for refugee status before they come to the United States; however, raids have recently been conducted by the Department of Homeland Security to detain and deport families that have fled from Central America.
“That frankly leaves us scratching our heads and leaves us wondering how the administration could be talking about the refugee resettlement issue in such different terms,” notes the president of the child advocacy group for unaccompanied undocumented immigrant minors Kids in Need of Defense, Wendy Young. Young claims the families that have been targeted have not been given due process prior to their deportation.
Young adds that she believes the motivation for the immigration raids is to counter the increasing belief that the US has lost control of the border; however, such actions are likely to backfire, with many in the immigrant rights community “now all unifying and speaking out in strong opposition to this new policy.”