WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) released the following statement in response to a Reuters report that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are planning raids across the country to arrest teenagers who are suspected gang members. Additionally, Congressman Cárdenas has drafted an emergency letter to the Department of Homeland Security expressing his concerns.
“I’m proud to live in a country where our Constitution affords every man, woman and child due process,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas. “Today it appears President Trump and his Administration are once again attempting to dismantle one of the reasons why we have been admired for so long by everyone around the world.”
Rep. Cárdenas wrote:
Dear Mr. Secretary and Mr. Homan,
I have seen reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin targeting 16- and 17-year-olds who they suspect to be gang members as early as this weekend. This radical change from established department policy is far-reaching and deeply concerning.
I request that you cease the implementation of any such policy, and I further request the opportunity to speak with you as soon as possible regarding the application of overly-broad criteria for identifying gang involvement to initiate removal proceedings.
I have appreciated the opportunity to speak with you and your office in the past, yet this memo, as reported, seems to go against the intentions that you stated. This memo has the potential to undercut the right to due process of children living in the United States. It is an attack on constitutional rights and liberties and employs overly-vague criteria which could put innocent children in jeopardy.
As this matter is of an extremely time-sensitive nature, I await your prompt response.
Member of Congress