Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today issued the following statement on the nationwide immigration raids announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Starting last weekend, the raids have already targeted the homes of over a hundred Central American families who arrived to the United States last year fleeing the region’s violence.

 “These raids illustrate the many painful aspects of a system that has failed, including harsh tactics facing undocumented mothers and children whose only mistake was to escape a certain death in their native countries.  The Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have the highest murder rates in the world.  We must recognize that these families are fleeing escalating violence and address the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.

“If past is prologue, and given the climate of intolerance and misplaced fear promoted by Republicans, we know immigration raids often lead to the erroneous targeting, detention, or deportation of people who do not qualify for a fast-tracked removal and were not afforded proper due process. Furthermore, I have deep concerns of the chilling effect these home raids will have among immigrant communities who will understandably be terrified and deterred from approaching law enforcement to report crimes and forced further into the shadows. As we begin to get more details on these operations, let’s not overlook the devastating effect and cost to spending our limited DHS funds on deporting women and children and not violent felons.”