Arizona residents are likely aware that thousands of Central American migrants have attempted to cross into the U.S. over the last two years. However, some families and children arrested in recent immigration raids have been denied a fair immigration hearing, according to a report by the legal coalition known as the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project.

In May, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began a series of immigration raids, targeting homes, workplaces and schools. The agency claims that the purpose of the raids is to apprehend Central American migrants who have exhausted their legal rights to stay in the U.S. However, CARA alleges that there have been 40 cases of women and children arrested and at least 21 cases where immigrants with valid asylum claims have been denied a hearing in immigration court. The coalition also claims several of those arrested did not have an outstanding deportation order.

Many of the people who have been detained are seeking asylum from a decade of gang-related violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Immigration advocates say the Obama administration is improperly treating the Central American migrants as illegal immigrants instead of refugees in need of humanitarian assistance. Further, the CARA report accuses the government of targeting immigrants in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia because they are known to have judges unsympathetic to immigrants.

Immigrants who are fleeing their countries do so for various reasons, including religious or political persecution. An immigration attorney could help those who are applying for asylum prepare the necessary documentation and provide essential guidance during court hearings.

Source: Vice.com, “Immigration Raids Are Targeting People with Valid Asylum Claims, According to a New Report,” Ted Hesson, June 16, 2016