Houston (The Associated Press) – Lawyers representing immigrant families who have been detained by the United States government for more than a year have expressed concern that their clients may be deported this week.
Lawyers said that six parents and six children could be deported by air on Wednesday, although they are still continuing their asylum procedures. The families say they were unfairly denied protection under various measures by former President Donald Trump’s government that were subsequently rejected by the courts.
Hundreds of people were deported in the early days of President Joe Biden’s administration, including a woman who witnessed the massacre at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019. Although a federal judge bar Biden from exercising a 100-day ban in connection with deportation For most unauthorized persons in the United States, a judge’s order did not require the federal government to appeal the deportations.
Legal experts assert that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE for English acronym) has criteria for delaying deportation flights, keeping migrants in custody or releasing them after paying a commitment, even if they have final deportation orders.
Since the judge issued the order, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration has deported people to at least five countries, according to the agency and activists.
Families facing deportation were in detention in Diley, Texas, the Family Detention Center, set up by the government of former President Barack Obama, where Biden served as Vice President. Biden announced executive orders on Tuesday on family separation, border security and legal immigration aimed at reversing policies Trump is implementing.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency noted last week that 230 people were being held at the Dili facility. The agency refused to confirm the decision to deport the families.
In a letter sent Tuesday to Department of Homeland Security officials, immigrant rights groups called on the Biden administration to “immediately suspend deportations of asylum seekers and their children.” The letter highlights new national security guidelines that came into effect on Monday – and which are not affected by the federal judge’s order – confirming that deportation priorities are threats to “national, border and public security.”
Many of the Dili families who had been held for more than a year were within hours of deportation by the Trump administration until the last-minute pleas of the operation were prolonged. Some were even transferred to the airport and eventually returned to the detention center.
Shalin Floharty, director of the legal group Dilley Project, which represents families, noted that parents and children facing deportation have fought across the Trump administration, which has enacted a series of restrictive immigration policies, such as separating thousands of families from immigrants.