Federal Agents Rounding up Immigrant Families; Women Fear Deportation Dangers
Immigrant families living in the U.S. may soon be sent back across the border. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are set to begin en masse round ups. In this exclusive story, one woman living here illegally shares her personal story with our Carlos Garcia.
AUSTIN, Texas -- A series of federal raids over the past 72 hours has rounded up more than 120 immigrants.
Those arrests were made across North Carolina, Georgia and right here in Texas.
Most of the 121 people in custody are parents and children.
The immigrants were already facing final deportation orders-- and had no chance of receiving asylum from the federal government.
"These 121 were specifically targeted, almost all of them from what we're hearing, because they either didn't show up to court or because they showed up to court and had an order of removal or voluntary departure and didn't leave the country at the time designated and so they went to round them up," said Jeff Peek with Peek & Toland PLLC.
Claudia, a Guatemalan immigrant who agreed to speak with TWC News on condition of anonymity, said she remembers her harrowing journey chasing the American dream.
"I remember having to walk three days straight, sometimes at night," she said.
Fast forward 15 years later: Claudia has survived in the shadows.
"I've already made a life here. I wouldn't know what to do if I was deported. My husband is here, my kids are here," she said.
Being sent back to Guatemala has become her worst nightmare.
"Right now, women are being kidnapped. Whether it's for extortion, or for trafficking," Claudia said.
"When you have a situation like that country where there's no help from your government the gangs and the criminal element knows this, you are a target especially young women like that," said Peek.
Between living in the shadows or being deported, Claudia said her choice is clear.
"If you get deported, it's bad news. Criminals will think you have money. Getting deported means going home to die," she said.
Since the summer of 2014 Central Americans have been removed by a rate of 14 flights per week, and there are no signs of the rate slowing down.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said he'll keep going as he sees appropriate.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, most of the people involved in those 14 flights per week have been single adults.
No word yet on how long the raids will take.
Join the Discussion: