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Immigration officials criticized over raid tactics

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Maryland residents may be aware that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began in May to conduct a series of raids designed to round up undocumented workers and those who have now exhausted all of their legal options. Many of these raids took place in schools, homes and work sites, and immigrant advocacy groups including the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project have chastised officials for what they are calling a heavy-handed and inappropriate approach.

In addition to questioning the way that the raids have been carried out, CARA alleges that many of the women and children taken into custody may have had legitimate claims for asylum. It also alleges that immigration agents overstepped by detaining immigrants even when no deportation order had been issued against them. About 115,000 children and 125,000 families have been detained at the U.S-Mexico border since 2014.

CARA believes that the behavior of immigration agents is rooted in the Obama administration's treatment of the problem as an illegal alien issue rather than a refugee crisis. Millions of people have fled homes in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras in recent years to escape violence and crime, and immigrant advocates say that they may face serious danger if they are sent back. Large groups of these people, including significant numbers of woman and children, started crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014.

Being taken into custody by federal authorities can be a traumatic experience for those seeking to start a new life in the United States. Attorneys who have experience with these matters may seek to help immigrants who have been detained by seeking their release on bond. Attorneys could also make a request for asylum during deportation proceedings or file an appeal when the immigration court rules that deportation is warranted.

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