“The House may have failed to do its job on immigration but that doesn’t mean the President has to fail too. He could keep immigrant families together for the holidays with the stroke of a pen.”
Fairfax, VA – Monday, December 16th, 2013 – On the first workday after the House of Representatives closed its doors without passing immigration reform, a group of 9 protestors just blocked the entrance and exit of deportation vans at the Fairfax, Virginia Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, holding the President accountable for the thousands of deportations expected before Congress returns from Winter break.
“The House might have closed for the year but ICE will be deporting families on Christmas unless we stop it,” explained protester Rosa Lozano of DC. “Blaming Republicans can’t stop the suffering in immigrant communities. But the President can. With the stroke of a pen he could end his deportation quota and expand relief like he did for dreamers.”
The protest is the latest in more than a dozen dramatic direct actions in the past two months in cities across the country where participants have used their bodies to block deportations. They point toward the White House’s self-imposed deportation quota of 400,000 removals per year and the criminalization programs that conscript local police into efforts to meet it, such as the Secure Communities program, as areas under the President’s exclusive authority.
As the immigration debate winds on without result in Congress, more and more have expanded their search for relief to include the White House who granted it to Dream-eligible youth last year and most recently expanded it to include military families. More than 500 organizations were joined this month by 30 Congresspeople in calling on the President to expand such relief to the fullest amount possible.
Blanca Hernandez, one of the protesters chaining herself to the ICE office this morning says, “I have DACA, but people in my family and so many other people in my community are excluded. Its only fair for everybody to have the same opportunity because we all came here searching for the same thing.”