On Wednesday, the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Linda Sanchez, finally released a statement about the ICE raids that have been happening across the country.
Rep. Sanchez said:
“Invading homes is inhumane and adds to the trauma of these families fleeing violence and oppression. Many recent immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are escaping one of the most dangerous regions in the world. In the past, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has spoken in defense of the unaccompanied minors fleeing the Central American countries. These minors could be our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews.”
And then on Thursday, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a closed door meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and White House officials. According to a report from Buzzfeed that quoted a lawmaker who was present in the meeting:
“The Obama administration is hoping to avoid a repeat of the summer of 2014, when thousands of immigrants — largely women and children — came to the southern border amid state and gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The issue became a political flashpoint.
A new wave of immigration this summer would almost certainly become a major political war: Immigration has dominated the Republican primary so far, and masses of immigrants showing up at the border during the convention could prove complicated for the Democratic nominee.
During the meeting, according to the lawmaker, the administration seemed cool to the idea of classifying immigrants from Central America as refugees as a way to allow them to remain in the country. Additionally, the lawmaker said, officials had little response when members repeatedly pointed out that Cubans who come to the U.S. are still automatically given legal status to stay in the country but Central Americans are not, even though the U.S. and Cuba have begun normalizing relations.”
In essence, it seems that the White House is willing to sacrifice Central American refugees to continue to appear to be tough on immigration.
A recent investigation by The Guardian revealed that deporting undocumented Central Americans back to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras could mean that the returning migrants face imminent threats of violence.
Photo credit: Lauren Victoria Burke via Twitter of Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Muñoz entering the meeting on deportations at the Capitol on Thursday.