WAMU 88.5 : News

Activists Gather At White House To Protest Immigration Proposal

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Hundreds of immigrant-rights activists assembled outside the White House to protest President Obama’s request that Congress fund the deportation of tens of thousands of Central American children.
Armando Trull/WAMU
Hundreds of immigrant-rights activists assembled outside the White House to protest President Obama’s request that Congress fund the deportation of tens of thousands of Central American children.

The White House is seeking nearly $4 billion to address the immigrant-children crisis on the border. Some of the money will be used to quickly send the children to their homelands.

Hundreds of immigrant-rights activists protested outside the White House on the eve of President Obama’s request that Congress fund the rapid deportation of tens of thousands of Central American children detained after crossing the border illegally. "All children have rights, even if they aren’t born here," says Trinidad Ramirez, an undocumented immigrant whose 15-year-old son, Brandon, arrived from Guatemala several weeks ago. "What if it were President Obama’s daughters? How would he feel then?"

resident Obama wants to hire more immigration judges and prosecutors to handle the deportation cases of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and mothers with young kids now waiting for their day in immigration court. The administration hopes that by quickly deporting children who left their homes a few months ago, families will no longer pay thousands of dollars to smuggle their children on a dangerous and futile journey.

If you’re a run-of-the-mill illegal immigrant in the United States, your chances of being deported are essentially zero," says the Center for Immigration Studies' Mark Kerkorian. "Word gets back. People call home. They hear it on the radio and in the newspapers down there, and they figure they’re going to act, and they want to act before the window closes.”

Until now the children had been detained, processed and turned over to relatives or foster families while their cases are resolved. Hundreds of those children are currently living in the D.C. area, and it’s clear the White House wants them gone.

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