January 8, 2016
Velázquez on ICE Raids
Washington, DC –Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-07) spoke today at a press conference regarding recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that apprehended Central American refugees. Following are her remarks:
“The Statue of Liberty, one of the great symbols of our nation has an inscription. It reads, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’ If anyone is ‘tired and poor’ – would it not be the refugees from Central America fleeing violence and abuse and terror? Yet we are apprehending them, denying them basic legal representation and potentially deporting them. These raids are an affront to our core values and traditions!
“The Administration needs to explain something. It is a very simple question. They - rightfully so - argue we should provide safe haven to refugees fleeing violence in Syria and the Middle East. However, they would at the same time say we should apprehend those fleeing violence in Central America.
“How does that make any sense? This is not an issue of immigration enforcement - it is a refugee issue and it is a human rights issue! Many of these refugees have not had legal representation.
“This does not just affect the refugees being sought by ICE. Other household members are being apprehended during these raids. That is not ‘targeted’ as ICE claims.
“We have heard of ICE using deception and misinformation to gain access to residences. Immigrants – documented or not – have rights. And these raids are being conducted in a way that violates those rights! These are some of the most vulnerable members of society - and we are treating them like criminals.
“I have heard from my district. Immigrants and their families feel terrorized that men wielding guns are going to break down their doors or snatch their children from schools. We are here to send a clear message to the Administration and the President.
“We say with one collective voice - Mr. President, this must stop. It must stop today! We are a greater nation than this!”
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