Lawyers advocating for illegal immigrant children flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border want Congress to make it more difficult to deport illegal immigrants, even from Mexico.
Under current law, the federal government can immediately deport illegal immigrants from Mexico and Canada. Those from countries like Central America, though, cannot be immediately deported under a 2008 law.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association told Congress this week that “there is no valid reason for treating vulnerable unaccompanied children differently based on their country of origin.”
The group, which is the national association of immigration lawyers that was “established to promote justice and advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy,” has over 13,000 attorney and law professor members.
The group even wants the federal government to close down most detention facilities and “switch completely to… alternatives to detention.”
“DHS should not expand the use of detention for families as a means to address the humanitarian crisis or to deter future arrivals as the holding of families in detention centers is generally inappropriate, opens the door for abuses and inhumane conditions, and should only be used in extremely rare circumstances,” they said.
At least 57,000 illegal immigrant children have crossed the border since October of last year and another 150,000 more are expected next year. Federal officials estimate that 75% of those immigrations are from Central America, but changing the law to prevent illegal immigrant children from Mexico from being immediately deported could cause those numbers to spike even more drastically.