The United States plans mass deportation of immigrants who have entered the country illegally since early last year, the US media reported on Thursday.
The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Department of Homeland Security would launch nationwide raids early next month to nab illegal immigrants.
The Post said that it would be the first large-scale effort to deport the more than 100,000 families who have entered the country and would focus on families and individuals who entered the US through the southern border. But the report also noted that ?many of those families were fleeing violence in Central America.?
WSJ reported that typically, such migrants turn themselves in at the border and make asylum claims. US authorities then release them, often to live with relatives already in the country, while their cases are adjudicated.
The Post reported that the homicide rate in El Salvador has reached its highest level in a generation, and a regional drought is also contributing to the number of people migrating north.
Last year, an unprecedented number of migrants were unaccompanied children.
But the Post said the operation would target only adults and children who have already been ordered by an immigration judge to leave the country. WSJ reported that more than 12,000 individuals were apprehended at the southern border in October and November, compared with about 4,500 in the same months last year.
The number of unaccompanied minors caught during those two months topped 10,000, compared with about 5,000 in the same period last year.
In the summer of 2014, the peak of the crisis, more than 10,000 Central American minors a month entered the US.