On Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson insisted that a series of raids over the weekend, which targeted Central American families apprehended at the border after May 1, 2014, should come as “no surprise.” He further insisted that the families taken into custody had been “issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and have exhausted appropriate legal remedies.”
But it appears that this is not the case. By Wednesday afternoon, attorneys with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project managed to file and secure emergency stays of deportation for four families through the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Speaking with the New Republic on Thursday, Wendy Feliz of the American Immigration Council explained that many of the families swept up in the raids had no idea they had any right to an appeal. “Homeland Security doesn’t make it easy for people to seek out legal assistance,” Feliz said.
Once filed, appeals are being granted “within a matter of hours,” according to Feliz. This all indicates to her that the “appropriate legal remedies” were not exhausted. The American Immigration Council and several other advocacy groups have demanded meetings with DHS, but as Feliz says, “We’ve heard no remorse.”