Administration Should Employ Solutions, Not Crackdowns

Communications Associate

January 5, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration’s enforcement priority is “deporting felons, not families,” echoing previous remarks by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids over the weekend tell a different story. The targets were more than 100 families who had fled countries experiencing widespread violence.

The reality contradicts the message, but solutions are possible: deportations should not occur without confirming that those involved had fair and timely proceedings that include legal representation, adequate time and notice for preparation, and a full and objective hearing. Deportation without due process is not a humane response for these parents and children, nor is it an effective deterrent.

“Our country needs a clear and effective process for families that have come here in search of asylum and safety,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Many families DHS has targeted have legitimate claims that have not been properly addressed due to a lack of clarity and proper due process.

“The enforcement approach now under way is neither humane nor sustainable. If the administration is serious about deporting felons, not families, it should walk the walk.

“We need a process that provides immigrant families with proper information and counsel. The United States should not prioritize deporting families who are seeking protection from violence and persecution, whether they arrived before or after an arbitrary date. Deportation should target dangerous individuals, not families.”