Civil rights commission slams immigrant deportations

A bipartisan and independent federal agency, which is run by a Latino who was appointed to the post by President Obama, says the president’s administration needs to put an end to the current deportation raids on undocumented immigrants.

A letter to the president and Jeh Johnson, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary, has been published by the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR). The letter demands that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and DHS raids that began after New Year’s Day are halted.

Martin R Castro, the chairman of USCCR, says the deportations should be brought to an end and every immigrant who has been scheduled to be deported but is seeking asylum should have their case reviewed to ensure there were no violations of their right to due process. USCCR also wants pro-bono lawyers to assist the immigrants.

“As the nation’s civil rights watchdog, the US Civil Rights Commission cannot stand by silent while our federal government deports refugee women and children whose due process rights may have been deprived in the first instance, to potentially life-threatening situations in their home countries,” Castro claims. “To continue these deportations to proceed is counter to our values as Americans.”

Last year USCCR issued a report entitled Statutory Enforcement Report: The State of Civil Rights at Immigration Detention Facilities, which revealed that a number of detention facilities were failing to comply with standards and basic needs such as medical care and legal access. The report recommended the release of all family detainees.