White House rules out changes to deportation policies, provokes anger

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Jan 09, 2016 10:35 IST
A group of immigration activists speak out against raids on undocumented immigrants, during a rally in front of the White House in Washington. (REUTERS Photo)

The White House has ruled out any change in its deportation policies, which has resulted in a significant number of foreign nationals, particularly those fleeing the violence in Central America, being forced to go back to the country of their origin.

The policy has resulted in widespread concerns from various outfits, rights bodies and even leaders of the ruling Democratic party.

“We’re of course aware of these concerns. But the enforcement strategy and priorities that the administration has articulated are not going to change,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Friday.

He said President Barack Obama was aware of the issue and is focused on making sure that the US can have a more fair and just immigration.

People with a criminal history, and individuals who have recently crossed the border will be prioritised for removal, the Press Secretary said.

Earnest said the administration follows due process, allowing these individuals to make asylum claims and exhaust their legal options before they are deported.

“The one way that we could solve this is for Congress to finally take overdue action to reform our broken immigration system,” he said.

The Obama administration is facing outrage among several Democrat lawmakers who have opposed the recent move to deport Central American refugees who came to the US after May 1, 2014.

“This is not an immigration issue, it is a refugee issue,” said Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“Deporting these refugees essentially means that we’re sending them back to their home countries to face possible death,” she said.

Lawmaker Nydia Velazquez said the administration needs to explain why it wants to expand its refugee program for Syrians but “apprehend those fleeing violence in Central America.”

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