A young girl sits listless in a detention center.

Thousands of women & children asylum seekers still at risk for deportation

new report from the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center sheds light on the aggressive and deceptive means ICE used to round up immigrants in deportation raids in January. Through a series of interviews with women in detention, the report’s authors collected stories of women who were tricked into allowing ICE into their homes, suffered unnecessary aggression at the hands of ICE agents and treated “like animals” once they were detained.In some cases, ICE agents asked people to identify a photo of an African-American man as an excuse to enter homes.

Beginning early January, the Obama administration detained a total of 121 people, deporting 77 of them within three days of apprehension and without allowing them to speak with a lawyer. Most of the raids happened in North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia, and targeted individuals from Central America’s Northern Triangle – Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – which is facing intense poverty and violence.

Since the raids began, the immigrant rights movement has responded with protests, petitions, and sit-ins and over 270 organizations have signed a letter to President Obama asking that he grant Temporary Protected Status to asylum-seekers from the Northern Triangle. Advocates have found that many people were unfairly targeted in the raids and ultimately granted stays of removal once provided with legal council. In fact, studies show that most people with access to legal representation win their court cases to stay in the country. Are we denying women and children who are fleeing violence and poverty their right to due process?

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee reports that there remain 16,030 women and children immigrants with removal orders who lack legal representation and are vulnerable to deportation. Unless Obama responds to the letter, it’s likely that these raids will continue.

Header image credit: Katie Orlinksy


Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at Change.org, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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