U.S. Plans to Conduct New Immigration Raids

Impending operation will target Central American mothers and children who have evaded deportation orders

The Obama administration is poised to conduct immigration raids targeting Central American mothers and children who entered the U.S. illegally after a spike in their numbers.

The impending operation, first reported by Reuters, aims to round up and deport immigrants who have evaded deportation orders or not shown up for court hearings.

In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, “the Department of Homeland Security must enforce the law consistent with our enforcement priorities.”

The agency said it focuses on individuals who had entered illegally after Jan. 1, 2014. “This includes single adults, as well as adults who bring their children with them,” the statement said.

It declined to provide any further details.

The U.S. Border Patrol detained 27,754 unaccompanied minors from Central America in the first six months of the current fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. That is almost double last year’s total of 15,616 and it is just below the record in 2014 of 28,579 during that same period.

The number of apprehended migrants traveling in families, usually mothers with children, was 32,117. That is almost three times as many as last year’s number of 13,913, and much higher than the 19,830 detained over the same period two years ago.

Immigrant advocates say that the current spike, like that in 2014, is fueled by an escalation in violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Gangs recruit young boys and kidnap teenage girls to be their sex slaves, they say. They also engage in extortion, often targeting small-business owners who have been killed for resisting to pay gangs, according to interviews with migrants.

By MIRIAM JORDAN for The Wall Street Journal
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