Latino and immigration activists are preparing for a fight after confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security that it is planning the most comprehensive deportation effort to date. An emergency meeting was held on Monday morning by CASA de Maryland, an immigration advocacy group, after people began panicking when they learned that families will be targeted by the raids.
“It’s ironic, it’s a slap in the face of most of our communities for this directive to be issued at this particular time,” says George Escobar, CASA’s senior director of human services, pointing out that the news came not only during the festive season but also at a time when President Obama has been imploring the American public to welcome immigrant refugees from Syria.
The raids could start as early as next month, but Escobar says no communication whatsoever has been received from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security; instead, the information has come from the media. Escobar claims that refugees from Central America are the targets of the raids and says that many should have been granted asylum in the United States but have never received proper legal representation.
“To be deported and rejected by the country where they’re seeking safe harbor and a rescue from their situations is really devastating,” Escobar adds. CASA de Maryland members are planning to protest the deportation plans outside the White House at noon on Wednesday.