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>> President Obama launching the largest deportation drive this year, targeting mothers and children recently arrived from Central America, in an effort to head off a new immigration crisis at the US border. Julia Edwards is on the story.>> The US Immigration Enforcement Agency is doing a surge campaign over 30 days beginning this month, and spanning into June, to deport as many women and children who have been given final orders of deportation as possible.
And the purpose is to dispel the myth that Central Americans who come here as families, women and children traveling together, can stay here. That's a myth that's been propagated by the fact that many women and children, who have come since 2014, have not shown up to their court appearances or have not followed orders of deportation.
And have somehow snuck in to American society undetected.>> Also on the list, those who entered as minors and have now turned 18. It's part of a new approach for the Department of Homeland Security to do high-profile raids, grabbing headlines and sending a message.>> Rather than one-off operations, what immigration agents would do on a daily basis.
This is meant to be a surge, where they gather everyone who they think may qualify, and they go after them all at once. Since the fall, we've seen a gradual rise in the number of Central Americans, particularly women and children, coming across the boarder. And so there's a thinking within the administration, that if they don't do some kind of enforcement action now, they may see those numbers rise.
Especially as we get into the months of late Spring, early Summer, when people are more likely to make that journey.>> The Obama Administration on Friday seeking to downplay the raids as business as usual. The deportation searches puts Obama in a tough spot with Hispanics in a year Democrats need them to hold the White House.
Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both blasting the raids Friday. Clinton calling them counterproductive, Sanders saying deporting families who fled violence in their home countries is inhumane.