In response to the U.S. government’s plan to initiate a new round of deportation raids, Sen. Bernie Sanders recently spoke out against the operation, which would force women and children back into harm’s way. Although many Americans view undocumented immigrants as parasitic in nature, U.S. foreign policy has been responsible for taking part in the detrimental conditions from which these people have fled.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that U.S. immigration officials plan to conduct another round of deportation raids throughout May and June. They will be the largest raids targeting hundreds of Central American mothers and children since the deportation sweeps in January that primarily took place in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.
“I oppose the painful and inhumane business of locking up and deporting families who have fled horrendous violence in Central America and other countries,” Sanders recently wrote in a statement. “Sending these people back into harm’s way is wrong.”
The two-day deportation raids in January resulted in the detention of 121 people, consisting mostly of women and children. According to Reuters, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to launch a 30-day ambush of arrests focusing on hundreds of undocumented families living in the U.S.
“I recently met a young Salvadoran woman who came to the United States on her own at the age of 15 to flee gangs trying to recruit her. I’ve also spoken with many children who have told me with tears streaming down their faces that they live in daily fear that their parents will be taken away,” Sanders continued. “I urge President Obama to use his executive authority to protect families by extending Temporary Protective Status for those who fled from Central America.”
Due to U.S. involvement throughout Central and South America, many undocumented immigrants have fled from corrupt governments and violence influenced by U.S. foreign policy. In 1954, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz after he nationalized banana plantations purchased by United Fruit Company. Then-CIA Director Allen Dulles and his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, both had financial ties to United Fruit when they convinced Eisenhower to approve the operation.
In 1984, the U.S. Army School of the Americas was expelled from Panama after training death squads to kidnap, torture, and murder hundreds of thousands of their own people. The school reopened later that year in Fort Benning, Georgia, and eventually changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).
On April 17, 1961, the CIA initiated the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Four years later, the U.S. invaded the Dominican Republic as Johnson sent more than 22,000 troops onto the island nation. Implicated in the assassinations of numerous Central and South American political leaders, the CIA eventually admitted knowledge of the failed coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Due to a history of U.S. intervention throughout Central and South America, many of the deplorable conditions and violence that immigrants have fled from were a direct result of U.S. foreign policy. Instead of accepting responsibility for inciting civil wars and participating in political assassinations, many Americans continue to live in denial of our government’s crimes while blaming undocumented families for the horrendous living conditions and unstable economy in their own countries.
By defending undocumented women and children from another round of deportation raids, Sanders continues to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves within our current system.