Federal immigration authorities carried out raids in the Atlanta area this month without warrants, entered people’s homes without their consent and denied women access to their lawyers, according to a report released Thursday by pair of civil rights groups.
The raids — which also took place in North Carolina and Texas — are part of a nationwide crackdown targeting immigrants illegally crossing the southwest border. Of the 121 adults and children who were arrested in the raids this month, 77 have been deported, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed last week.
“The tactics employed by ICE agents also raise serious legal questions,” the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights said in their report, which includes accounts from many of those arrested and calls on the Obama administration to stop the raids. “The United States must address the humanitarian crisis in Central America, not resort to unconstitutional tactics that punish those we are bound by law to protect.”
ICE issued a statement Thursday, denying the allegations in the report.
“All individuals taken into custody during this targeted operation were subject to a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge,” ICE’s statement said. “Warrants are issued only in criminal cases; ICE conducted civil immigration enforcement in accordance with a civil order issued by an immigration judge after full due process, and in full compliance with the Fourth Amendment. Detainees who wish to have legal representation in immigration proceedings are allowed to do so. ICE does not restrict a detainee’s access to counsel should they wish to have legal representation.”