Statement on Trump Administration’s Plan for Mass Immigration Arrests
WASHINGTON — The Trump Administration reportedly plans to launch massive immigration raids over the weekend that specifically target children and families in major cities across America.
“The Administration’s intention to conduct these raids, especially at a time when our immigration system is systemically abusing children, is nothing more than an exercise in calculated cruelty and it will affect generations to come,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the bipartisan children’s advocacy group First Focus on Children. “It is deeply disturbing that our government has decided to target children and families for deportation.”
We are also deeply disturbed that families swept up in these raids will be held in family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. First Focus on Children has long called for the closure of family detention facilities such as the Berks County Family Detention Center in Pennsylvania, which had its license revoked by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in 2016 due to horrific abuse allegations and human rights violations.
The raids also are slated to include “collateral” deportations, meaning that immigrants present when officers arrive also will be subject to removal, even if they have not been targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These raids will have a ripple effect on entire communities, causing anxiety among children in mixed-status families and making families afraid to send their children to school, visit health clinics, or even attend immigration court proceedings.
First Focus on Children has called on both Congress and the Administration many times to hold the best interest of the child paramount in all policy decisions regarding children and families caught in our broken immigration system. “We urge the Administration to do right by children: abandon the raids and focus on finding viable solutions that strengthen families and ultimately strengthen our nation,” Lesley said.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Bruce Lesley on this issue, please call or text First Focus Vice President of Media and Communications Michele Kayal at 703-919-8778.