May 20, 2016

Contact: Sandra Feist, Chapter Chair

Minneapolis, MINN - The Obama Administration recently announced a 30-day surge of arrests and deportations of hundreds of women and children, many of whom have sought asylum in the United States after facing brutal violence and persecution in Central America.

The Minnesota/Dakotas AILA Chapter is joined by our community partners in speaking out against these planned raids in calling upon our elected officials to comply with the asylum laws and procedures, by granting thee asylum seekers their due process rights and by allowing them meaningful access to counsel. The following statement can be attributed to AILA and its community partners:

We are appalled at the prospect of the Obama Administration's plan to waste federal resources targeting families fleeing violence, while stating simultaneously its intention is to prioritize deportations for immigrants with criminal violations. This cynical and senseless move will target people who have legitimate claims to refuge in this country. Many have been fast-tracked through the deportation process for political reasons, have not had meaningful access to an attorney, do not fully understand the ability to appeal negative immigration court rulings, and have not had the opportunity to fully share their stories of repeated trauma including sexual violence and other persecution. These women and children deserve a fair day in court. The Obama Administration has conducted raids like this before, and the damage done stretches far beyond those families whose homes were invaded. These raids are sending shockwaves of fear affecting millions around the country. Parents are afraid to send their children to school and children fear that their parents will disappear.

We urge the Obama Administration to halt this punitive, inhumane, and impractical enforcement initiative against families and young children fleeing violence and seeking refuge in the United States. President Obama should remove recent Central American asylum seekers from his list of deportation priorities. Furthermore, we urge Governor Dayton, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Minnesota's U.S. Representatives, to speak out strongly and in concert against these raids on mothers and children.

The following organizations support this statement:

Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
The Advocates for Human Rights
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM)
American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN)