January 06, 2016

Statement of Paulette Brown, President, American Bar Association Re: Immigration Raids Targeting Central American Families Seeking U.S. Protection

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2016–– The American Bar Association condemns the U.S. government’s operation targeting the deportation of Central American mothers and children seeking protection in the United States and calls on the government to halt these raids immediately and to adhere to fundamental principles of justice and due process.  

In response to the 2014 influx of Central American families, the U.S. government implemented a patchwork of inconsistent practices, including detention and expedited removal hearings that denied basic rights to mothers and children.  Many of these individuals face a complex immigration court system without access to counsel.

The legal profession has been doing all it can to help these thousands of individuals and families fleeing danger and persecution in their home countries. But we continue to be concerned that immigration courts are trying to push these cases through the system as fast as possible, creating situations where people may be removed due to improper notice, lack of counsel, language barriers, and other factors not related to the merits of their cases.

The ABA urges the government to cease the raids immediately and to ensure that these individuals have:

  • Access to effective legal representation
  • Proper notice of their immigration court hearings
  • Full and fair consideration of their cases in court

Due process and human rights protections are fundamental to all individuals, including refugees seeking protection in the United States. We call on President Obama’s administration to ensure that we uphold principles of justice, fairness and due process for these affected mothers and children.

(Media contact: maria.gutierrez@americanbar.org)

Please click here for a biography and photo of Paulette Brown, president of the American Bar Association.