Monday, January 4, 2016
DHS and the Department of State are accelerating the development of new mechanisms to process and screen Central American refugees in the region, about which we hope to make a more formal announcement soon. We will expand access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in the region and develop more legal alternatives to the dangerous and unlawful journey many are currently taking in the hands of human smugglers.The upcoming methods for refugee processing will branch out off of the existing Central American Minors Program, which helps minors in the region apply for asylum while in their native country, if the kids have parents who lawfully live in the U.S. As of now, more than 6,000 children have applied for the relief, Johnson says in his statement.
These raids are a scare tactic to deter other families fleeing violence in Central America from coming to the United States. Secretary Johnson has himself admitted the raids are designed to deport as many as possible, as quickly as possible. The administration is doubling down on a system that is rigged against these families. Many of these mothers and children had no lawyers because they could not afford them. Without counsel, traumatized refugees don't understand what is happening in court and cannot get their legitimate asylum claims heard.In his statement, Johnson said he knows there are many who "loudly condemn" the enforcement efforts "as far too harsh," and that he recognizes the "pain" deportation causes.
But, we must enforce the law consistent with our priorities. At all times, we endeavor to do this consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity.According to the Los Angeles Times, unlike similar raids that happened in the mid-2000s, this time immigration agents do not plan to conduct workplace raids and other mass enforcement. Instead, they will focus checking up home address of families with deportation orders.
In particular, we are working with our Mexican partners to enhance joint efforts on our shared border, to support Mexico’s efforts on its southern border, and to shut down the criminal groups and illegal support networks that exploit vulnerable migrants. DHS and the Department of State will also continue to support the Merida Initiative, the longstanding partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence.