Professor Elizabeth Keyes, director of the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, took part in a Dec. 26 NPR program — “A Closer Look at Obama Administration’s Controversial Deportation Plans” — about the recently announced order to deport hundreds of Central American families from the United States.
Also interviewed was Mark Krikorian, director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates more stringent U.S. immigration policies.
Asked what she thought of Krikorian’s view that the Obama order was “enforcement theater,” or all talk and no action, Keyes said she agreed the order was designed to send a message to Central Americans.
But, she said, “I think it’s an ineffective message to send because parents who see their children facing the kinds of atrocities that my clients face will do anything to keep their children safe.”
The plight of the Central American migrants involves more than just immigration policy, Keyes emphasized.
“This is a humanitarian question, and people want to live up to that tradition in American history,” she said. “We do not want to be on the wrong side of history with this. I believe most people share that. And I think of this issue — it’s not about numbers, it’s not about jobs. It’s about protecting clients like my 5-year-old whose father was shot while they were out walking hand-in-hand in Honduras. That’s the kind of thing people are fleeing. And when Americans hear those stories, they understand people need to protect their children.”