WAMU 88.5 : News

Local Immigration Activists Blast Fast Track Deportation Plan

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The White House wants Congress to authorize an additional $2 billion to address the Central American children crisis on the border. Some of the provisions are being denounced by local immigration activists who work with the region's large Central American immigrant community.

At issue is President Obama's expected request that Congress change existing laws and regulations in order to fast track the deportation of the nearly 60,000 children detained after crossing the border alone and illegally. That process currently takes anywhere from nine to 18 months. During that time period, the children are normally released into the care of parents or relatives here, many of whom are themselves undocumented.

The provision to fast track the process in the hope that it will discourage parents from paying smugglers to bring their children here is being blasted by local immigration activists.

"What they are planning to do, detain and deport these children back into these awful circumstances of highly likely violence and even death is shameful," says Sheena Wadhawan with CASA de Maryland.

The metro D.C. area is home to one of the largest Central American immigrant communities in the nation. Some of the unaccompanied children who were detained by immigration authorities are already here after being reunited with their families. They are currently waiting for their deportation process to run its course.

Those who support a strong line against undocumented immigration say the White House is practicing damage control now by trying to fix a problem it created by not enforcing current immigration law.

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