The US Department of Homeland Security is preparing to unleash widespread raids on Central American immigrants, mainly women and children, once the new year begins, according to unnamed Obama administration officials who spoke with the press last week.
It would be the first ever program of mass deportations to target Central American refugees specifically. Most are women and children who have sought to escape gang attacks, drug-related violence and brutality by US-backed security services in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Raids are expected in Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles and the Washington, DC area, which have the largest concentrations of Central American immigrants. Other cities are likely to be targeted as well.
The DHS has begun adding capacity to handle increased detentions during the raids, since those arrested will be held in federal facilities in the days preceding their deportation. The agency recently opened two new “shelters”—actually detention centers—in Texas, one with 700 beds and the other with 300 beds. A third, 400-bed facility is being readied in California as well.