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Garcetti Condemns Obama Administration's Coming Deportation Raids

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A man is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agents early on October 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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As federal authorities announced plans for a surge of deportation raids, Los Angeles' mayor spoke out strongly against the effort."Los Angeles has always welcomed people from all over the world, especially those needing refuge from extreme violence and harrowing persecution. This has been particularly true for our neighbors in parts of Central America—which is why serious concerns are raised by recent Reuters reports that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning a series of raids to deport women and children," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an emailed statement on Friday, a day after plans for the Obama administration's latest series of raids leaked to Reuters.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the month-long raid uptick will take place in May and June, targeting newly arrived migrants from Central America. According to documents obtained by the news agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field offices across the nation have already been directed to launch a 30-day "surge" of arrests and deportations focused on mothers and children who entered the country illegally after January 2014 and "have already been told to leave the United States."

2014 saw a massive influx of asylum seekers fleeing extreme violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, many of them unaccompanied minors. According to The New York Times, the coming raids will also target individuals who arrived as minors but turned 18 while fighting deportation. Please read that last sentence again, in conjunction with your knowledge of the current climate in Central America, and then try and wrap your head around how reasonable people could possibly think that is a conscionable thing to do. Earlier this year, hundreds rallied in downtown Los Angeles to protest President Obama's insistence that mass deportations continue.

As Congressional Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, whose district includes much of South and East L.A., said in a statement, "To conduct these enforcement actions against women and children who have fled violence, and who will face violence if they are returned, is not just hypocritical, it is plain cruel."

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Garcetti and Roybal-Allard were not alone in their condemnations—Roybal-Allard's statement was cosigned by 146 house Democrats, and the coming raids have also been roundly denounced by advocates, presidential candidates not named Trump and media outlets not owned by Rupert Murdoch.

"After fleeing some of the most frightening circumstances imaginable, these refugees and asylum-seekers should not be the targets of ICE raids that are disruptive and instill fear in our local schools, workplace, and places of worship. The Administration should continue its policy of focusing on removing criminals and national security risks ­— not wasting precious resources on deporting those who are only looking to survive—and for the opportunity to build new lives for their families in a safe and secure environment," Garcetti said.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, large-scale immigration to the U.S. from Central America largely began in the late '70s and early 1980s, as asylum seekers fled brutal civil war, political instability and economic hardship. Los Angeles County has the largest concentration of Central American immigrants of anywhere in the country, and a rich cultural tradition to show for it. In August 2012, a portion of Vermont Avenue in the Pico-Union area was designated as the El Salvador Community Corridor.