Advocates Call on Obama Administration to Protect Immigrant Families, Not Deport Them

obama immigration

Photo by Pete Souza

Nearly a year ago, ICE Director John Morton issued a memo on prosecutorial discretion which led to the review of 300,000 immigration cases in removal proceedings. Advocates initially applauded this announcement, hoping that the administration would move quickly to close low-level, non-criminal immigration cases. But today, disappointed by the program’s low closure rate, advocates and community leaders called on the Obama administration to make good on its promise of using of prosecutorial discretion to protect DREAMers and immigrant families from deportation.

Today, community leaders, attorneys, and activitists expressed their outrage, calling the program a “failure.” As previously reported, of the 290,000 deportation cases reviewed by ICE attorneys, only 8,400 immigrants received offers of administrative closure. Of those, only 4,400 immigrants have accepted those offers. Furthermore, DHS has deemed just 7.2% of cases eligible for administrative closure, a number that keeps dropping with each review period (from 8% to 6.2% to 5.9% as of the April 16 to May 29 review period).

Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) demanded swift action from the administration:

Families are still being torn apart, despite being good candidates for prosecutorial discretion. Over 1 million immigrants were deported over FY 2009, 2010 and 2011. And families are being shattered. Nearly 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S. citizen children were deported in 2011. At this point, fewer than 5,000 have been administratively closed. Most of the individuals who are being deported have not actually committed any criminal activity. We demand that the administration take swift and immediate action to help protect immigrant families.

Crystal Williams, director of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA), said the low numbers speak for themselves.

Under this program, no more than 4 or 5% of immigrants are getting relief. And this relief is the weakest form available, similar to putting people’s files on the shelf. ICE has been operating from a little checklist. If you fall within this checklist, you get relief. If you don’t, you won’t get an offer. The totality of circumstances is not being considered. The program has been a failure.

Specifically, advocates asked the administration to protect DREAMers from deportation, make good on its promise of prosecutorial discretion by providing real relief—including work authorization—to workers pursuing civil and labor rights claims and to families threatened with separation. They also called on DHS to stop the controversial Secure Communities program which some called a “deportation mill” that erodes trust between local police and immigrant communities. And according to Gaby Pacheco, an organizer for United We Dream network, advocates “will continue to move forward … and take [their] voices to the White House until they see Obama exercise leadership.”

seth hoyThe message from today’s press conference was clear—communities are tired of waiting for the Obama administration to deliver concrete immigration relief. With no legislation in sight, administrative relief has become the only alternative for thousands of people who have deep ties to the United States. Even though the prosecutorial discretion memos signal change down the road, it is not coming fast or reliably enough for those who face deportation today.

Seth Hoy
Immigration Impact

Posted: Monday, 11 June 2012

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Comments

  1. says

    SOME OF YOU SHOULD REALLY SEE BOTH PART OF THE ARGUMENT… AND EXACTLY WE ARENT GERMANY WE ARE ORIGINALLY FORM FROM ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS I DIDNT SEE THE PILGRIMS WITH PASSPORTS AND VISAS SO PEOPLE GET REAL… AND IMFORM YOUR SELF FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE ARGUMENTS… DONT BE CLOSED MINDED! 

  2. ReverendDraco says

    And while we’re at it. . . let’s have amnesty for pedophiles, rapists, and murderers. . . if you’re gonna give one type of criminal a “Get Out of Jail Free” card – be consistent, and pass them out to ALL criminals.

    Better yet, deport them en masse, kids and all. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re broke, and can no longer afford to give out Public Assistance to Criminal Trespassers – benefits that Citizens cannot get or are not allowed to get. We can no longer afford to spend money that the children of Citizens need for education on the Criminal children of Criminal Trespassers.

    If they want to be here so badly. . . there are procedures and processes – which virtually every immigrant from virtually every other country in the world follow – they need to get in line like everyone else. You wouldn’t agitate for people to cut in line at the movies, or at a concert – why accept the same stupidity when it comes to something important?

    You Criminal Trespasser Apologists crack me up – when I’m not tearing my hair out, wondering how you could be so bloody idiotic.

    • JoeWeinstein says

      Contrary to your simplistic assumption, ‘crimes’ are not all equally nasty, and ‘laws’ (which define what are crimes and therefore define who are criminals) are not equally reasonable, so ‘criminals’ do NOT merit being treated all the same. 

      By the way, we are not ‘broke’ in real terms that matter.  Goppies want us to be publicly tightwad and to keep shooting ourselves in the foot into a downward economic spiral, but this country right now continues to have plenty of real stuff – including food and shelter (with lots of empty houses folks are foreclosed out of) and raw materials. 

      And there are two reasons why so many immigrants ‘cut the lines’:  many have no realistic opportunity to get into any lines, and moreover the lines are being moved along, needlessly, far too slowly   

  3. Hwood007 says

    If a person services in the military for one full enlistment without any trouble, I vote they have earned US citizenship.  The others have not, I have lived places where the guards shot people in the marked area where the signs told you not to go further or be shot.  Here we do not shoot you, we send you home, which is usually another country, and that is much better than being shot.  The US should not be a free entry country for anyone who does not request legal entry.

    • Marie says

      I get the impression that this anti-immigrant stuff is mainly targetting the Hispanics, while rarely there is any mentioning of we the invasion of Chinese and other Far-Eastern people taking over more and more . Do they have a special quote that permits them to settle in USA?

      • Hwood007 says

        It has nothing to do with race on my part.  I served in the Army with all the races you can think of and went to the beach with all of them.  I lived near the Berlin wall out in the country.  Three East Germans stood guard on the bridge I could see from my back window.  From time to time some east german would try and swim that river under the bridge to get into west Berlin and freedom.  None ever made it, they were shot by their own people.  The same feelings I am sure are in those who try to enter the US without the correct papers.  I feel for them but we can not have an open border law or some really bad people will come in the dark of a night and we may wake to very bright flash if they truck a bomb into a US city.

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