Immigrant leaders react to new round of deportation raids targeting Central American refugee families

On May 12th, the Obama Administration revealed plans to do another set of deportation raids targeting Central American mothers and children. This comes after a wave of raids deported at least 121 refugees in January. The announcement also comes one week after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson came to Philadelphia to convince Mayor Kenney and the immigrant rights community to rescind Philadelphia’s “Sanctuary City” policy. Philadelphia stood strong and remains a Sanctuary City.

We will not back down to President Obama, Donald Trump, or Secretary Johnson as they attempt to destroy the lives of families across the country. Now more than ever, we need your unity and solidarity as we continue to fight the raids and send a clear message that all deportations are unacceptable and all refugees are welcome.

Here’s what some New Sanctuary Movement immigrant leaders have to say about the raid announcement:

“I fought to have my sons from Honduras here with me, and one of them won asylum. My sons came here because of violence they suffered in Honduras. They can’t return there. I feel very worried and afraid for all the families.”
-Maria Xiomara, a mother from Honduras with two sons who recently came to Philadelphia to escape gang violence

Our fear is for our children. If something happens to me, what’s going to happen to my children. What are we going to do with everything we have built here?”
-Mariana, mother from Mexico

“This is so bad and unjust because in every country there is poverty because of the influence of the United States. If we can’t live here, where are we going to go? The moon?”
-Teresa, a leader from Mexico

We’ve worked hard to keep families safer from raids. Here’s some of the ways: 

1. 275 Pennsylvania clergy signed an open letter condemning the raids and we held a vigil to hand-deliver the packet to ICE. Read the letter here.

2. We worked with City Councilmembers Maria Quinones Sanchez and Helen Gym to pass a City Council resolution 16-1 condemning the raids. Read the resolution here.

3. We’ve held Know Your Rights workshops in our immigrant congregations to give people the critical information they need to protect themselves against ICE abuses.

We will continue to fight these raids and work for a more welcoming and just city and country.