US Begins 'Wave of Removals' of Migrants
121 arrested in Georgia, Texas, NC over the weekend
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2016 9:09 AM CST
In this June 20, 2014, file photo, immigrants who entered the US illegally are seen after their release from a US Customs and Border Protection processing facility in McAllen, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(Newser) – A "wave of removals of parents and children" will go forward as planned, reports the New York Times: US authorities made 121 arrests over the weekend—mainly in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina—of migrants who arrived in the US in 2014 but failed to win the favor of an immigration judge, says Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Most fled violence in Central America, but were only allowed to stay in 20% of decided cases as of Nov. 24. The remaining 726 of 905 cases resulted in deportation orders; 67% of those ordered out of the US failed to show up for hearings, leading to the arrests. "This should come as no surprise," Johnson says, per Politico. "I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed."

Johnson adds agents chose not to detain some migrants who were slated to be deported, but he did not say why. "It is faulty logic for the Department of Homeland Security to believe that if they deport people fleeing violence back to violence, others will never come to the US," a National Immigration Forum rep says, adding the deportations are "not safe or sustainable." A rep for the American Civil Liberties Union says, "Many of these mothers and children had no lawyers because they could not afford them." A lawyer helping some of the migrants agrees many sought asylum without legal assistance; those that did have a lawyer won asylum in most cases, he says. Detained families will be processed at a detention center near San Antonio before they are deported, reports the Guardian.