Shortly after New Year’s Day 2016, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents began raids to pick up Central American families who came to this country fleeing violence. The Obama administration has announced that it will work with the United Nations to create ways for people to seek protection before making the dangerous journey to the United States. This is an incredibly important first step that signals a paradigm shift: that these children and families are refugees who need protection. But having that system in place does not free us from the legal and moral obligation to protect asylum seekers once they are here. Until appropriate procedural safeguards can be put in place, the Obama administration should halt the raids and ensure due process for these refugees.
Tom Jawetz is the Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. Philip E. Wolgin is the Managing Director for the Immigration Policy team at the Center. Andrew Satter is the Director of Video at the Center. Kulsum Ebrahim is a Video Producer and Editor at the Center.