A pair of children's shoes at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas.

Quote of the Day: “Happy New Year. You’re Deported.”

While a tearful President Obama announced a series of welcome executive actions on gun control yesterday, the White House also rang in the New Year with actions unconscionably ugly: as The Nation reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported quietly — on Christmas Eve no less — that it would begin raiding and deporting thousands of Central American refugees who have not been granted asylum.

Michelle Chen writes:

Their impending exile, according to ICE, is a matter of upholding rule of law, apparently to make it clear that the United States takes border control seriously and seeks to somehow deter mass migration.

[But] the law the Obama administration is following, immigrant advocates say, runs counter to the higher mandate the White House should be abiding by. International humanitarian law actually dictates that these desperate parents and children be granted protection from the persecution and violence they have fled in their home countries.

The tens of thousands of children and parents who have been criminalized by Homeland Security—designated as those who have received “a final order of removal” as of January 1, 2014—are actually seeking refuge from drug-war violence, political instability, [and] epidemic poverty…Overall, roughly 100,000 family members have arrived from Central America over the past two years—primarily mothers with children, many of them seeking asylum—along with some 100,000 unaccompanied migrant and refugee children.

DHS had already been slammed in recent months for detaining families, mothers, and children, in abusive, and often illegal, detention facilities. As Chen notes: now instead of incarcerating parents and children together, the administration is moving to deport them all together. And as Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, has added,  “that it is refugee women and children in ICE’s enforcement crosshairs today speaks to the dangerous callousness of the President’s political calculations.”

More than 150 civil rights, labor, and faith organizations – including Feministing – responded by notifying federal officials yesterday that many Central American refugees targeted by raids are disabled, as that term is defined under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The groups demanded that federal agencies then make reasonable accommodations for these refugee parents and children with trauma-related disabilities: beginning by ending these raids. Read their letter to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security here, sign on to the letter here, and read more over at The Nation here.

Header Image Credit: Reuters

Mahroh Jahangiri is the former Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She cares about the ways in which American militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally. You can say hi to her at @mahrohj.

Mahroh Jahangiri is the former Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools.

Read more about Mahroh

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