Dear President Obama,
We write to urge you to reverse your decision to delay the Department of Homeland Security’s deportation policy review and instead immediately use your existing legal authority to provide relief to millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States. Positive administrative action on immigration is a first step, not a last resort. It cannot be put on hold in order to see whether nativist House Republicans will succeed yet again in blocking long overdue legislative reforms that are supported by the vast majority of Americans. To the contrary, immediate administrative action is necessary to alleviate suffering, allow directly impacted individuals to make their voices heard, and show that the Democratic Party is not using immigration as a political football, but rather is committed to real, tangible change.
According to news reports, you ordered this review three months ago to make deportation policy more humane. Implicit in your order was an important acknowledgement: deporting over one thousand people a day is inhumane. By delaying the review that you yourself ordered, you are perpetuating an immoral status quo. In the months since you ordered this review, the situation has only deteriorated. Most recently, DHS has responded to the decision of dozens of states and localities to limit participation in the dangerous and misguided Secure Communities deportation program by deploying new, equally misguided enforcement efforts, including expanding arrests of immigrants in homes, at courthouses, and in indiscriminate street sweep—all in an apparent effort to meet an arbitrary quota of 400,000 deportations per year endorsed by former and current members of your Administration.
The justification offered for this most recent delay is that continued inaction by your Administration is necessary to give House Republicans “space” to consider legislation. This reflects a failed Democratic strategy, which, for years, has promised that immigration reform will be achieved only when Democrats prove their enforcement credentials to anti-immigrant Republicans. The logic was shaky to begin with, the equivalent of trying to pass climate change legislation by proving Democrats can pollute more than any anti-environmentalist. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine arguing for a delay of the recent EPA regulations on the ground that such a delay would yield legislative victory. After a decade of failure in Congress, the apparent strategy of political triangulation on immigration has become indefensible. We can no longer allow relief for our families—relief that is fully within your existing power to grant—to be held hostage to the demands of obstructionist Republicans or those within the Democratic Party who seek political advantage by preserving the status quo.
We are aware that six national organizations put out a statement last week supporting a delay in relief. Those groups do not represent the immigrants’ rights movement as a whole. For the reasons described above, the under-signed organizations strongly oppose any delay and call for immediate administrative action, including—at a minimum—the expansion of deferred action to immigrant workers and families and all those who would qualify for legalization under Senate Bill 744. Current immigration policy constitutes a crisis for the country, and this crisis demands action from both the executive and legislative branches of government. We have reached a moment where your leadership is required to move things forward. Please act without delay.
(signatures do not appear automatically, this list is manually updated)
NotOneMoreDeportation.com is a campaign made of individuals, organizations, artists, and allies to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration laws.
As the immigration debate continues, #Not1More enters the discussion from the place that touches people in concrete ways and can offer tangible relief. By collectively challenging unfair deportations and unjust policy through organizing, art, legislation, and action, we aim to reverse criminalization, build migrant power, and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion.
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