05 January, 2016
More than 120 illegal immigrants have been arrested and detained by U.S. immigration officials in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.
The detainees are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Most are mothers or children traveling alone. They have entered the United States from Mexico since May 2014.
Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson said the detainees were placed in family detention centers in Texas.
Close to 100,000 Central Americans crossed into the U.S. in the last 20 months, according to VOA News.
Experts say the immigrants are fleeing gang violence in Central America. Also, they seek to reunite with family members in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the threat of deportation. The ACLU said federal officials are using the detentions as a "scare tactic to deter other families fleeing violence in Central America from coming to the United States."
I'm Mario Ritter.
The staff at VOA News wrote this story for VOAnews. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
detention – n. the act of keeping someone in a prison or similar place