Photo: Deportation news
Four organizations sued the United States Government on Friday for the deportation of immigrant mothers and children who, according to the lawsuit, had fled from violence in Central America.
The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and National Immigration Law Center presented their suit in the name of immigrant women and children being held at a detention center in Artesia, New Mexico.
The complaint maintains that the Barack Obama administration has adopted a “strong-arm policy to ensure rapid deportations by holding these mothers and their children to a nearly insurmountable and erroneous standard to prove their asylum claims, and by placing countless hurdles in front of them,” the ACLU said in a statement.
So far this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, more than 58,000 unaccompanied minors have entered the United States illegally, mostly over the Texas border, according to official figures.
The great majority of those minors come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, and a law passed to combat human trafficking prohibits their immediate deportation without an immigration hearing.
Advocates say that these youngsters must be considered refugees fleeing threats of death, rape and extortion in their countries of origin.
“These mothers and their children have sought refuge in the United States after fleeing for their lives from threats of death and violence in their home countries,” Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said.
“U.S. law guarantees them a fair opportunity to seek asylum,” she said. “Yet, the government’s policy violates that basic law and core American values - we do not send people who are seeking asylum back into harm’s way.”
According to the suit, filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Obama administration has “categorically prejudged” cases of asylum without considering the individual circumstances.
“Fast-tracking the deportations of women and children from immigration detention is an assault on due process,” the American Immigration Council’s Melissa Crow said.