ICE Is Quietly Accelerating Deportations of Central American Mothers and Children

Photo Credit: Duffman / Wikimedia

Legal advocates say that, since November, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been expediting the deportation of Salvadoran families from the Berks family detention center in Pennsylvania, with imminent plans to expel three more families this Friday morning.

The speeding up of deportations appears to stem from the more aggressive approach of the Trump administration, say advocates.

ICE is accelerating the process by expelling families on non-commercial flights before they are granted travel documents by the Salvadoran embassy, in a break from prior practice, say advocates. Berks is one of three remaining family detention centers that incarcerate immigrant mothers with their children—prison-like facilities that became a mainstay of former President Barack Obama’s response to mass, violent displacement from Central American countries.

Prior to the change, families were granted provisional travel documents and deported on commercial flights. By cutting out the role of the the Salvadoran embassy in granting such papers, expulsions now move more quickly.

“This is a way of circumventing their legal rights,” said Bridget Cambria, an immigration attorney who represents a 19-year-old slated for deportation tomorrow with her three-year-old daughter (the individual’s name is being withheld to protect her privacy). “What they are doing now is, rather…

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