Concern rose among members of Congressional Hispanic caucus Wednesday after a meeting with DHS Secretary John Kelly to discuss the increase in deportation operations, the future of undocumented youth known as Dreamers in the United States, and the detention of undocumented immigrants with no criminal history, among other issues.
“The meeting was quite worrying,” a source told the Univision News source at the closed-door Capitol meeting. “Secretary Kelly does not seem to learn from his mistakes and insists on implementing President Donald Trump’s massive deportation agenda, no matter how much damage it does to the nation,” he added.
The meeting was planned by the caucus to address a long list of “concerns”, including the confirmation of a national deportation machinery promised by President Donald Trump during his campaign.
The source added that “we did not expect much from Secretary Kelly at this meeting. Butwe were surprised how they talked about the future of immigrants, both dreamers and other people who make up the 11 million undocumented community .
Access to journalists was not allowed at the meeting.
The Hispanic Caucus is also concerned about the increased arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal history, and warned that “the migratory battles ahead in Congress will be essential to protect the well-being of the immigrant community, especially the Latino community.”
“Now more than ever we need the Democrats not to shake hands with this government,” the source said.
Prepared for the worst
For Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois), the outcome of the meeting with Secretary Kelly is summed up in a simple phrase: “We must prepare for the worst . ”
“I think we have to prepare to fight mass deportation , ” he said. “We show up at airports to fight against the prohibition of Muslims and refugees, and now the DREAMers and people who have lived here legally for decades with TPS (Temporary Protected Status) are in imminent danger.”
Gutierrez noted that Secretary Kelly “basically told us that he does not know if he will extend the benefit that protects thousands of Central Americans from deportation,” and that the future of the nearly800,000 undocumented youths known as dreamers and beneficiaries of the DACA program ” Corresponds to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the United States’ top advocate against immigration. ”
“Kelly basically said that DACA is facing a death sentence . They (the Trump government) really want to turn millions of people who are documented into undocumented, and then go after them and their families, ” said Congressman for Illinois.
The meeting touched on issues such as the increase in the number of immigrants detained by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who have no criminal record , as well as the increase in operations of the national deportation force promised by President Donald Trump during his campaign and the future of the dreamers.
“We are concerned about the announcement that the government will prosecute parents and relatives of single asylum seekers to accuse them of human trafficking, and the future of TPS (Temporary Protection Status) for thousands of Central American immigrants who have spent time in the United States Of their deportations, “the Hispanic Caucus press office told Univision News earlier.
About 300,000 undocumented migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua have been protected since 1999 from deportation through a Temporary Protection Status that also allows them to work.
At the beginning of his campaign, Trump said he would deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, but later changed his speech and said that he would only expel those with a criminal record and that he would seek a permanent solution for the Dreamers.
But by the end of June, 10 Texas-led states issued an ultimatum on Sept. 5 to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions cancel the DACA. Otherwise, they warned, they will demand action before the same court that in 2015 stopped the implementation of DAPA (which protects from the deportation of parents of citizens and legal residents) and the extension of DACA.
If implemented, these programs curbed the deportations of just over 5 million undocumented parents of legal citizens and residents and dreamers who did not qualify for DACA for being over 30 years of age as of June 15, 2012.
Immigration arrests by ICE increased following the signing of two immigration enforcement actions signed by Trump on January 25: one related to the construction of the wall on the Mexican border and another to the sanctuary cities.
In both actions Trump decreed that undocumented immigration constitutes a threat to public and national security and ordered the activation in the country of Section 287g of the Immigration Act, which allows DHS to make agreements with local police to act as Immigration agents in the arrest of undocumented immigrants.
With this measure, Trump would have a national deportation force that would target the 11 million undocumented.
Kelly, along with ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan, have pointed out that the agency prioritizes the arrest and removal of threats to national security and public safety. However, they add, no class or category of foreigners in the United States is exempt from arrest or removal from the country.
The agency adds that “it continues to emphasize the prioritization of public security threats, national security risks, offenders and foreigners with the final deportation orders.”
The meeting was held within the framework of the House of Representatives’ debate on the 2018 DHS budget, which includes a $ 1.6 billion item for the construction of the wall on the Mexican border, one of the main anti-immigrant Trump.