For immediate release
May 15, 2016
Ramiro S. Fúnez
LOS ANGELES, CA—Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are planning to launch a month-long series of deportation raids targeting undocumented Central American mothers and children, Reuters reports. UNITE HERE, a union that represents over 270,000 culinary and hospitality workers across North America, will join immigrant advocacy groups nationwide in opposing ICE’s second wave of raids this year—the first wave began early January when ICE officials detained 121 adults and children in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.
Thousands of undocumented families from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have embarked on perilous excursions across Mexico toward the United States since 2014, escaping violence and poverty in their homelands. ICE officials have responded by separating mothers from their children and sending them to detention centers across the country where they await deportation. Most Central American refugee families do not have adequate access to legal representation and humanitarian relief.
“We need these raids to end immediately,” says María Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights, and Diversity. “That’s why we’re standing alongside immigrant workers across the country who are raising their voices and becoming citizens so they can vote for real change in this country.”
In recent months, UNITE HERE has led a campaign alongside the Culinary Union, its largest affiliate, to help thousands of legal permanent residents (LPRs) in Nevada apply for citizenship in order to fully exercise their civil rights in the national debate over immigration policies.