Press Releases

Friday, May 13, 2016

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Condemns Reported Escalation of ICE Raids

Press Release
RaeAnn Roca Pickett, Senior Director of Communications & Public Affairs Phone: 202 621 1409 Email:

Those fleeing violence in Central America should be treated as refugees, not as criminals
Washington, D.C. —In response to media reports that U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning an escalation of raids to deport hundreds of mothers and children who have fled violence in Central America, Ann Marie Benitez, senior director of government relations for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), issued the following statement: 
“As the leading voice for Latino/a’s  in the fight for health, dignity, and justice the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health could not be more disheartened by the Administration’s efforts to round up and deport Central American mothers and children who have come to the United States seeking refuge and protection. Raiding the homes of families and children is morally reprehensible and critically undermines the work advocates have done to ensure better living conditions for immigrants and refugees, amid a seriously flawed immigration system. These children and mothers have been forced to make the life-or-death decision to leave their communities and homes, only to be traumatized both during their journey and upon arrival. The right to seek asylum and a safe place to live is not a crime, and the United States has a long and proud legacy of serving as a beacon of hope for all people fleeing persecution and abuse. The Obama Administration must immediately put an end to their plan to raid people’s homes, terrorize families, and rip them apart. Meanwhile, we will continue to empower communities across the country to ensure that all people, no matter who they are or where they come from, are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”
Most of these women and children arriving at our door come from the so-called “Northern Triangle of Central America.” This area is known to have the world’s highest murder rates. A 2015 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) analysis of credible fear screenings carried out by U.S. asylum officers found that 82 percent of the women from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico who were screened on arrival at the U.S. border “to have a significant possibility of establishing eligibility for asylum or protection under the Convention against Torture.” 
For more information, visit us at or on Facebook and Twitter @NLIRH. 
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 28 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.