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Lofgren leads Dems in urging stop to ICE raids

A Bay Area congresswoman helped lead 146 House Democrats in urging President Obama to suspend Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids targeting Central American families and children.

Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Downey; and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., sent their letter to the White House just hours before the president was scheduled to deliver his final State of the Union address Tuesday. The entire Bay Area delegation except for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, signed the letter.

Lofgren is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

The lawmakers wrote that the Department of Homeland Security operation “has generated widespread fear and panic in immigrant communities and has far-reaching impacts beyond the alleged targets for removal.” And it has raised due-process concerns “including meaningful access to legal counsel for mothers and children after apprehension and DHS officers reportedly using deceptive tactics to gain entrance into private residences,” they wrote.

“For these reasons and others, we believe that this operation should be immediately suspended until we can ensure no mother or child will be sent back to a country where they would face persecution, torture or death,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Democrats blasted the Obama administration for failing to provide a comprehensive refugee solution for those fleeing from violence in Central America.

“Your Administration has used family detention, Spanish language communication campaigns in Central America urging people not to come to the United States, and financial assistance to Mexico to deter, arrest, and return those fleeing violence,” they wrote. “This strategy has proven to be ineffective, as mothers and children continue to arrive at our Southwest border seeking refugee protection. Desperate Central American mothers and children will continue to flee to the United States and seek protection, regardless of the deterrent actions taken by this Administration.”

A regional solution to the crisis should include refugee screening and resettlement, the use of safe havens in appropriate third countries, temporary protected status for those in the United States, the use of priority refugee processing, and other humanitarian remedies, all in cooperation with other countries and non-governmental organizations, they wrote.

“The goal of this comprehensive refugee approach should be to ensure that Central American refugees, particularly mothers and children, are able to live free from an endless cycle of violence and persecution,” the lawmakers concluded. “We urge you to immediately halt the current enforcement actions towards Central American mothers and children and take steps to engage in a comprehensive effort with our hemispheric partners to address this regional refugee crisis in an appropriate humanitarian manner.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    Does anyone here seriously doubt that after passage of “comprehensive immigration reform” with precise deadlines for those covered, that in the months and years to follow, when the law calls for removal of “newly arriving undocumented “… that Rep. Zoe Lofgren will be protesting those future lawful court ordered removals, just like she is now doing.

    BTW, Zoe Lofgren favored the passage of the senate’s “comprehensive immigration reform” . Had it passed intact, those who are now under court ordered removal, would also have been under the same orders now. Having arrived after the deadline that Lofgren said she supported.

    What would she say now, when orders to deport them were issued?
    What will she ever say, regardless of what immigration reform is passed.
    It would appear that short of being a convicted criminal involving a serious crime, that Lofgren will never support the removal of anyone. Not even when removal would be ordered by some future bi-partisan immigration reform, signed by President H. Clinton, that she would support in a House vote..

    Correct me if I am wrong about her position.

    BTW, the current removals ordered, numbering some 100, out of some 100,000 recent arrivals. The Obama administration has ordered these negligible removals as window dressing. Even the most clear cut cases, involving 1 in 1,000 individuals, are being met with resistance by Lofgren..
    In essence…unless you are convicted of a serious felony, there is no immigration enforcement that is acceptable to Lofgren. Zilch.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Zoe is the prototype SF Bay Democrat. That’s why she could never be elected to statewide office.