Amid increased waves of illegal immigration, the Obama administration is planning a new series of raids to remove hundreds of Central American minors and “families” who have already been ordered to leave the U.S., according to Reuters.
The news organization reports that the operation would take place over 30 days in May and June and be larger than the two-day sweep that took place earlier this year, which targeted just 121 illegal immigrant “family units” living in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.
The plan, Reuters notes, is in response to the increase — to the already elevated level — of illegal immigration from Central America.
Experts say that the high numbers of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border in recent months indicate that this year’s influx of Central Americans could be even larger than the records reached during the surge of FY 2014, when Customs and Border Patrol apprehended more than 68,541 minors and 68,445 “families” at the southern border.
In the first six months of FY 2016, Border Patrol apprehended 27,754 unaccompanied minors illegally crossing into the U.S. — 78 percent higher than the 15,616 unaccompanied minors apprehended over the same timeframe in FY 2015 and similar to the 28,579 apprehended in FY 2014.
In that same six month period, 32,117 “family” members were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. via the Southwest border — 62 percent more than FY 2014.
While the Reuters report indicates that hundreds will be targeted, since FY 2013, more than 300,000 unaccompanied minors and “families” have been apprehended illegally crossing the southern border. Almost all remain in the U.S.
Over the past 2.5 years, just 3.6 percent of the “unaccompanied children” apprehended illegally entering the U.S. have been sent back to their home countries, according to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.
Immigration activists and Democrats have decried the raids, arguing that the Central Americans are fleeing violence in their home countries and deserve protection. Immigration hawks and Republicans say that the Obama administration’s lax enforcement of immigration laws — allowing most illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation — and amnesty programs have served as potent enticements for illegal immigration.