Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) is decrying the Obama administration’s enforcement raids targeting border surge illegal immigrant families with removal orders.
Over the weekend the Obama administration began what it calls “enforcement operations” to take adults and their children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally after May 1, 2014 and have been issued final orders of removal.
According to Gutiérrez, the Obama administration’s raids are intended to scare illegal immigrants. He wants the raids to end.
“The raids by the Obama Administration on families from Central America must stop,” he said in a statement. “They are a cruel reminder of a discredited policy.”
The raids come as the southern border has experienced a renewed surge of illegal immigration from Central America at even higher rates than the elevated levels of the past two years.
Nearly 300,000 unaccompanied minors and “family units,” largely from Central America, have been apprehended illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since FY 2013. The jump in October and November suggest the influx to the U.S. from south of the border could continue at even higher levels.
Following the raids on Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the actions are needed to enforce the law in accordance with the administration’s “priorities.”
“I also recognize the reality of the pain that deportations do in fact cause. But, we must enforce the law consistent with our priorities. At all times, we endeavor to do this consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity,” he said in a statement.
Gutiérrez’s office noted that he has requested a meeting with Johnson.
“Along with other Members of Congress, I am seeking answers from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as to why this policy is needed, why it was launched to instill fear in immigrant households over the Christmas, New Year’s and Three Kings holidays, and why family detention centers I have been trying to close are now filling up with new families awaiting deportation,” Gutiérrez added.