Yesterday, the editorial board at the New York Times published a strong rebuke of the government’s deportation policies against Central American immigrants who have arrived to escape violence back home. As legal arguments and appeals work their way through the federal courts, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has aggressively detained and deported non-violent immigrants, including many students. The paper notes that this problem is particularly harsh in states like Georgia and North Carolina, where local organizational support in response to raids remains thin.
These activities are a reminder of the impact that border control policies have in regulating and enforcing federal statutes on the bodies that pass through ports of entry or cross without documentation. They also have a long reach, extending a hand thousands of miles from the border into local communities and disrupting everyday life in myriad ways. As many of us know, it is a process that has been well-documented by historians and scholars of the border and U.S. immigration. From the editorial:
While legal advocates have been scrambling, ICE has been running amok, raiding homes and public spaces in search of deportable youths. In North Carolina and Georgia, where organized advocacy is sparse, the dragnet has been unusually aggressive. Agents seized students at home and on their way to school. Appalled teachers, students and community leaders have been signing petitions and marching, pleading for justice and putting a human face on the victims of coldblooded policies: Wildin Acosta, still in detention, as his appeal proceeds. Kimberly Pineda-Chavez, arrested on her way to school. Yefri Sorto-Hernandez, arrested at his school bus stop. Jose Alfaro-Lainez, deported to El Salvador on April 13. Jaime Arceno-Hernandez, scheduled to be deported on April 27.
Students are being locked up while they appeal deportation orders, though they pose no threat of violence or flight. Ms. Saldaña has rebuffed pleas for mercy, saying the administration — which has flown more than 28,000 people back to Central America since October — needs “to send a message” that the borders are closed to illegal immigration. But pleading for refuge is not illegal. More than 100 members of Congress have denounced the raids. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have pledged not to deport children if they win the presidency.
To read the full editorial, follow the link.