Statement on Increased ICE Raids, DHS Deportation Policy


January 7, 2016 | Chicago, IL

Immigration March

Protesters march at an immigration rally in downtown Chicago in May 2014. PHOTO: Progress Illinois

We at Erie Neighborhood House are outraged by the new strategy set forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that has authorized Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to conduct home raids in an effort to apprehend and deport Central American immigrants who have fled violence and instability in their home countries.

Our nation’s immigration system is undeniably broken. Undocumented immigrants from Central America facing deportation hearings often encounter an unfair, obfuscated judicial process, and we are concerned that many of these individuals and families targeted by (ICE) have not received due process in court. We are likewise disturbed by reports that ICE is apprehending individuals without a court order for removal during these home raids, including young children, in what amounts to a round-up. Countless advocate groups, including the ACLU, AFL-CIO and the National Organization for Women, have suggested that these actions are in violation of civil rights and must cease.

We also believe this practice is inhumane. It treats vulnerable individuals—men, women and children whom human rights organizations have classified as refugees and asylum seekers—as criminals, sending them back to the dangerous, life-threatening contexts from which they have fled. Furthermore, it is morally reprehensible to authorize the forcible removal of children and parents from their homes, often resulting in the separation of families. It is a deterrent that serves to spread fear throughout the entire immigrant community while failing to address the real problems leading to such migration patterns in the first place. This strategy panders to a fear-mongering, xenophobic ideology that threatens our shared American values of justice and liberty for all. Our nation can do better.

Erie House is joining fellow immigrant justice advocates in calling on the Obama Administration and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to halt this cruel, unfair practice immediately. We are also urging the local community—political leaders, justice advocates and people of faith—to denounce home raids and other tactics that serve to spread fear and tear families apart.

We are also determined to equip our community with the information they need to protect themselves from such injustice. On Thursday, January 21, at 6:00 pm, we will host a free Know Your Rights workshop at Erie Neighborhood House (1347 W Erie St, Chicago IL 60642). We also urge concerned individuals and families to visit the National Immigrant Justice Center for additional information and resources.

Celena Roldán, Executive Director
Kirstin Chernawsky, Interim Associate Executive Director

Erie Neighborhood House (ENH) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that reaches 18,000 people annually, empowering them to build better lives while strengthening their communities. ENH offers Chicago’s Latinx and diverse low-income residents a range of community-based education programs. With forward-thinking leadership, ENH is committed to continuing its legacy of cost effective, award-winning programming. For more information, please visit

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