U.S. Immigration officials are planning May and June deportation raids of Central American mothers and children who have entered the country illegally.
Reuters learned of the planned raids from sources and an internal document.
This will be the second deportation plan carried out by the Obama Administration to take place this year, after raids in January that focused mostly on women and children in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. Those raids resulted in the detention of 121 people.
The internal document for the May to June raids went out to field offices nationwide and will focus on arresting mothers and children who have been told to leave the country, as well as minors who entered the country illegally without a guardian and have since turned 18 years of age.
Two sources confirmed the plan to Reuters.
NPR reports that immigration agents will detain people whose “asylum claims have been rejected.”
The targeted illegal immigrants are part of a surge of Central Americans who fled their countries for the United States over the past two years because of violence.
The raids should not be viewed as new, but a continuation of the deportation operations that began in January, according to a statement from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson that was released May 12:
As we have stated repeatedly, the Department of Homeland Security must enforce the law consistent with our enforcement priorities. Our highest priority is public safety and border security. More specifically, the enforcement priorities DHS announced in November 2014 include the removal of convicted criminals and others who constitute threats to public safety and national security, as well as recent border crossers. To promote and protect border security, our priorities include those apprehended crossing the border illegally after January 1, 2014. This includes single adults, as well as adults who bring their children with them.
Between October 2015 and March 2016, more than 32,000 mothers and children traveling together have been apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol, Reuters reports. During the same time frame in 2014-2015, about 14,000 similar apprehensions were made, and 19,800 in 2013-2014.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a Senate panel in March that the January raids helped deter Central Americans from migrating to the United States illegally.