January 5, 2016
FAN Deplores ICE Raids and Detentions and Urges Obama Administration to Change Course
The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) calls on the Obama Administration to stop the ICE raids targeting people who have fled violence in Central America, hoping to find protection in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan announced at the end of December was already denounced by 150 immigrant, religious, and human rights organizations. Despite their pleas, the raids began on January 2nd in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina with arrests of 121individuals. There are reports of immigration officials conducting invasive pre-dawn home searches in Atlanta, even rounding up young children. These appalling raids raise fears in immigrant communities, traumatize families fleeing from persecution in their home countries, and violate human rights.
In a disturbing statement on January 4, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson declared that the raids were consistent with “decency, fairness, and humanity,” and that they target felons, not families. FAN strongly disagrees. Secretary Johnson also stated that DHS would continue to expand its cooperation with Mexico on immigration enforcement, referring to the odious US supported Mexican interdiction program, Frontera Sur, by which those fleeing violence from the Northern Triangle of Central America are turned back at the Mexican southern border. Recently, a Franciscan friar who operates a safe house on the Mexican border traveled to Washington, D.C. to plead with US legislators and the Commission on Human Rights to end US support for Mexican interdiction and spoke directly to the problems of the program.
"FAN joins other faith organizations and immigrant rights groups in calling on the Obama Administration to stop implementing its enforcement policies by way of raids and deportations of people in need of protection and asylum," stated Patrick Carolan, FAN’s Executive Director. "The United States must stop violating human rights and provide humane and legal assistance that is in accord with the best values of our country."