On Wednesday, the President will participate in a Telemundo town hall on immigration in Miami, Florida. We’re starting a list of questions we hope will be asked by those who are lucky enough to attend.
For quite some time, we have joined others in calling upon the President to meet directly with immigrants most impacted by his misguided deportation policy. We feel it’s important for the President to engage directly with immigrants who are struggling to achieve equality, and not just partisan lobbyists. We’ve compiled a list of questions we want answered, but we know there are many more. Will you add your questions using the hashtag: #Not1more day w/out equality?
1. Can you promise that people eligible for DAPA and DACA 2.0 will not be deported despite last week’s court decision preventing the immediate issuance of deferred action and work permits?
2. What will you do for those excluded from DAPA, DACA, and DACA 2.0? Do you believe immigrants should continue to face deportation despite strong ties to their communities, families, and work in the US, just because they don’t have children?
3. Do you believe ICE is a rogue law enforcement agency? How will you ensure that ICE agents are not arresting, detaining and deporting people who would qualify for DAPA, DACA, or otherwise are not considered an enforcement priority? What are the consequences for ICE and Border Patrol employees who refuse to implement your priorities?
4. This initial ruling in Texas must not slow progress toward equality. For those left out of the executive action—the majority of the undocumented population—the path to citizenship still begins with deportation relief. It was a welcome sign that you recently met with DACA recipients rather than lobbyists. Would you also meet with undocumented parents and workers to reassure them that they are not the targets of deportation?
5. Will you end S-Comm (for real)? In November, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the end of the harmful Secure Communities deportation program, acknowledging that it has been widely discredited by immigrant rights advocates, local law enforcement agencies, and the courts. But the heart of the program—fingerprint sharing between local police and DHS at the moment of arrest—remains unchanged. When will you truly end this program, which incentivizes racial profiling and threatens individual due process rights?
6. Your decision to enlist local sheriffs as vehicles for deportation has been abused in many places, but you clearly have the power to hit the “off switch” in places where racist police use these programs as a pretext for profiling. What steps will you take action in places like Arizona that have statutes mandating racial profiling? Are you comfortable with the outcome of DOJ investigations in places like Phoenix, Arizona, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio continues to engage in demonstrable civil rights violations?
7. We cannot accept having our community divided between the deserving and undeserving, the winners and losers, or excluding folks because they have been forced to work in the informal economy. What steps will you take to ensure that your recent policy shift creates a floor and not a ceiling for future relief?
8. Basing eligibility for your executive actions on parenthood excludes the LGBTQ community from relief. What steps do you plan to take to provide relief to this community?
9. Why do you keep saying “felons and not families” should be deported when you know full well that immigrants and communities of color are disproportionately criminalized, and that a person with a criminal record can also be a loving parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle and cherished member of her community? Are you concerned that your rhetoric on immigration is at cross purposes with a national consensus on the need for criminal justice reform? If someone was convicted of a felony but paid their debt or served their time, shouldn’t she or he receive equal rights, or do you believe that deportation should be used as a form of punishment?
10. Why does the Department of Homeland Security keep subjecting transgender women detained by ICE (people such as Nicoll Hernandez Polanco who is a young asylum seeker from Guatemala) to transphobic abuse, rape, and torture? When will you stop detaining immigrant transgender women?