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Immigrant rights in question in recent raids

South Carolina residents may be unaware of recent raids in Texas involving more than 100 immigrants from Central America. Those involved were mostly women and children, some of whom have alleged that they were not advised of their legal rights during the operation. This is reportedly the first major effort to deport members of this group since the rise in numbers of Central Americans coming to seek asylum.

At least four individuals affected by the January 2016 raids have made statements alleging that immigration authorities were not accurate in advising them related to legal rights. ICE, on the other hand, says that all parties apprehended were informed of their rights to counsel. Many of those who were detained were deported by the end of the first week of January. One woman was able to avoid being deported at the last minute, removed from an airplane that was headed for El Salvador. The woman suffers from a stress-induced form of epilepsy, which was brought to the attention of a judge by a relative with the help of a lawyer.

The number of Central Americans seeking asylum has grown by more than 200 percent since 2010, but the number granted asylum has increased by only 64 percent in this same period. There are plans to designate locations in Central America at which individuals can apply to come to the U.S. as refugees, which could reduce the numbers entering the country first and then facing potential deportation. Meanwhile, lawmakers are working to introduce legislation that would ensure that minors seeking asylum obtain legal representation at the government's expense.

Legal support during the immigration process could be important for ensuring that one's story is clearly communicated. A lawyer might provide documentation to substantiate medical claims or other issues that could create risks to a client's well-being in the event of of deportation.

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