Photo: No More Deportations
34 Leaders of 24-immigrant advocacy US organizations leaders have asked President Obama to issue an executive order halting all deportations until immigration reform is approved.
“If there’s not going to be immigration reform, then halt the deportations and stop separating our families,” Angela Sanbrano, with the Chicago-based National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, a network of dozens of community-based groups led by Latin American and Caribbean immigrants, told a press conference in DC on Tuesday at the end of a three-day gathering.
She also criticized the Secure Communities program, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement initiative launched in 2008 and designed to identify immigrants in U.S. jails who are deportable under immigration law, saying it causes immigrants to be viewed as criminals and a “threat.”
Jose Luis Gutierrez, NALACC’s associate director, said Secure Communities has been a colossal failure, citing a university study that found that 76 percent of people deported through that partnership between federal agencies and state and local law enforcement had no criminal record.
“The underlying issue here is that programs like these are being implemented that have a very negative perception of immigrants and a special focus on Mexican immigrants or those who resemble them, including Central Americans and Caribbean’s,” he added.
Aaron Ortiz, member of the Mexican-American Coalition for Immigration Reform, formed by a group of influential Mexican and Mexican-American leaders, concurred with Gutierrez on the need for direct lobbying of U.S. senators and representatives to encourage them to keep immigration reform on the agenda.
“It’s a fact that we won’t have it this year but we have to keep working to keep the debate going,” he added.