The Obama administration’s deportation policies might be worse than Trump’s

Last Thursday, news broke that the Obama Administration is planning to launch a “surge” of immigration raids to target Central Americans who have fled violence in their home countries. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were specifically called on to target immigrant mothers and children who have final deportation orders or who have run out of legal options to stay in the country.

The news comes just a few months after the administration conducted a similar series of raids to arrest and detain 121 individuals. Among those targeted were high school students on their way to school in North Carolina and Georgia. And though those raids were concentrated in a few states, as ThinkProgress reports, there has been a ripple effect across the country: immigrants in other states are resorting to staying in their homes, keeping their children home from school, and even asking legal residents to do their grocery shopping for them.

There’s good reason for this fear. President Obama – also know as the #DeporterInChief – has long terrorized communities with raids that have been inhumane and likely violate civil rights protections. What Trump and the GOP have threatened to do, the Obama administration has actually enacted. The administration’s abhorrent tactics include tricking people into opening their doors so they can enter without a judicial warrant; threatening unlawful arrest in order to forcibly enter homes; and targeting kids at schools or bus stops (even though this contradicts their own stated policy of avoiding churches, hospitals, and schools).

The raids are also misguided. As Justin Streight at Inquistr reported earlier this week: “A lot of these women who come here with their children actually present themselves at the border. They’re not trying to enter illegally. They’re not trying to invade. They’re fleeing a situation and putting themselves at risk of rape; of violence. Those children could be killed.” So why are we doing this? Because there is money to be made, even if it’s off of the backs of people who have survived staggering violence.

Does this make you mad? Support what immigrant communities are doing to stand up to the raids. Among their ranks are those who interrupted a top Obama official at a graduation ceremony, and this high school senior who is on hunger strike to pressure city officials in Santa Ana to close a jail that’s holding undocumented transgender women. Check out Centro Presente’s video about how to respond if ICE knocks on your door. Consider signing this petition started by a woman from El Salvador who is asking Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status to migrants from war-torn Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador or this petition demanding that President Obama halt the raids and stop terrorizing people who are fleeing violence,

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Mahroh is a community organizer and law student who believes in building a world where black and brown women and our communities are able to live free of violence. Prior to law school, Mahroh was the Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization empowering students to end gender violence and a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research addresses the ways militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally.

Mahroh is currently at Harvard Law School, organizing against state and gender-based violence.

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