#Not1More Deportation

President Obama: Take Further Action on Immigration Now.

There are changes to the immigration system that cannot wait for the presidential elections.

Top Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has already outlined some of her concerns with current immigration enforcement practices, particularly in her roundtable discussion with undocumented students at Rancho High School. But the families being torn apart by deportation and the many people waiting in immigration detention cannot, and should not, have to wait for Presidential elections for these reforms to be prioritized and enacted.

President Obama could make the changes to the immigration enforcement system outlined by Clinton, now.

If Clinton and the Democratic Party believe in these changes as more than talking points, they should move for President Obama to enact them immediately with the urging and vocal support of his party.

Add your organization to the list of signers asking President Obama to enact the changes, six of which are outlined below.

1. End detention of transgender immigrants, women, children and other vulnerable populations:

During the roundtable discussion Hillary Clinton said that she was “very worried about detention facilities for people who are vulnerable and for children” and called for the use of discretion, like the President’s executive orders, to change the detention process.

As Clinton asserts, conditions in detention facilities are deplorable. Detainees lack access to medical care, protection from violence and legal counsel. Vulnerable populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender immigrants, face especially horrific and dehumanizing conditions, including frequent violence and harassment from guards, deprivation of necessary medical care, psychological torture through solitary confinement, and all too often rape.

Particularly for LGBTQ people with criminal histories, ICE should start with a presumption of hardship for people with community and family ties. The agency can then consider all other factors and circumstances that lead to the agency’s designated enforcement practices, but the burden should be on ICE to overcome the presumption of the tremendous hardship caused by the detention of LGBTQ immigrants.

President Obama must direct DHS to use discretion to release from custody of particularly vulnerable populations, including people who are pregnant, transgender, living with HIV/AIDS, and/or with disabilities.

2. Expand deferred action to the most people possible under the law:

Clinton told undocumented youth that she would go “even further” than President Obama on deferred action, and would like to have “a simple, straightforward and accessible way for parents of DREAMers and others with a history of service and contribution to their communities to make their case.”

Although the White House has argued otherwise, legal experts around the country agree that the President has the authority to expand the group of people who qualify for deferred action, including to people who are parents of deferred action recipients and the other 7 million undocumented immigrants who were left out of President Obama’s executive actions.

3. Terminate private prison and detention contracts, at minimum require strict accountability, oversight and clear consequences for violations with centers:

“A lot of detention facilities for immigrants are run by private detention facilities, and they have a legal incentive to fill them up. There is actually a legal requirement that so many beds are filled. So people go out and round up people in order to get paid on a per-day basis. That makes no sense to me. That is not the way we should be running any detention facility,” explained Clinton.

The reality is that currently private companies operate 50% of immigration detention beds. Private companies own a stark 100 percent of beds for immigrants serving time for drug offence s or unlawful re-entry. Until private contractors are banned, the President could ensure that private prisons be made subject to the same FOIA laws as public actors, and contracts with private prisons could be required have strict accountability and oversight mechanisms, with contract termination established as a clear consequence of violation.

4. Streamline the legal immigration system and provide relief from the visa backlog.

Currently, 4.4 million people have filed immigration applications but still wait, often times for decades to be reunited with family in the United States. Many of these same people are subject to detention and deportation for overstaying their visas in the United States, and many U.S. citizens remain separated from their loved ones. The backlog particularly impacts Asian Americans with 35% of those in the backlog from Asian countries.

As part of the Visa Modernization Taskforce established by the executive actions on November 20, 2014, many organizations have called on the President to make much needed reforms to the legal immigration system. The President should heed these calls and act to streamline the legal immigration system by protecting from deportation anyone with an approved family or employment visa petition; count derivatives as part of the same family unit for purposes of immigration visas; recapture unused visas and reapply them to those seeking to immigrate; and use parole as a mechanism to reunite families who continue to wait in the growing visa backlog.

5. Immigrant workers who denounce labor rights abuses could be protected by federal agencies and be given deferred action:

The undocumented students who shared their recommendations and stories with Clinton spoke about being paid less than minimum wage, working in less than adequate conditions and being scared of their employers. Clinton responded that that the best way to assure that immigrant workers are not taken advantage of is to pass immigration reform, “The quicker we can legalize the people who are here, the better the job market will be for everyone. Because you won’t have a group of people who are taken advantage of” by being “paid so much less and treated so much worse, “ as Clinton explained. But there are things that President Obama could do now to improve the working conditions of undocumented workers, and allow them to become advocates on behalf of working people when there are labor abuses taking place.

President Obama could prohibit unscrupulous employers and other bad actors from using immigration status as a weapon against organizing and whistle-­‐blowing immigrants who push back on inhumane hours, dangerous conditions, and withholding of pay (among other violations). Federal agencies could adopt formal non-­‐retaliation policies prohibiting agents from targeting defenders of civil, labor, and human rights for arrest, detention, or deportation. These non-­‐retaliation policies should include a blanket prohibition of immigration enforcement activities during a labor dispute, an organizing drive and/or as a result of either. The President could also give deferred action to individuals without lawful status who come forward to file civil, labor, or human rights complaints; individuals who are detained by immigration authorities during a labor strike; and individuals involved in a pending matter before a federal agency in which they are participating/providing evidence. Finally, all agencies that enforce civil, labor, and human rights should be recognized as having authority to certify U-­‐Nonimmigrant Status.

6. Separate the criminal law enforcement from immigration by ending all collaboration between local law enforcement agencies and ICE, and end programs that criminalize undocumented migration.

Although there was little crossover between  the round table discussion on immigration and Clinton’s recent Columbia University speech on reforms to the criminal justice system, there are important connections between them. During her speech, she explains that “It’s time to change our approach. It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration. We need a true national debate about how to reduce our prison population while keeping our communities safe.”

Current immigration enforcement practices equate deportation and detention of immigrants with criminal histories with community safety. Especially after the November 20th announcement on changes to the priorities as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, families are being torn apart when their loved ones are taken into custody – regardless of whether this takes away a breadwinner from the family, of how long ago the conviction took place, whether the person has lived most of their life in the U.S., or the type of restitution that the person has made to society after their conviction. Although Clinton is not specifically referring to immigrants, she gets it right when she says that “keeping them behind bars does little to reduce crime. But it does a lot to tear apart families and communities.”

The President has the power to make changes to how the immigration system criminalizes immigrant families and communities. Right now, he could direct the DHS to review its guidelines and priorities, particularly when it comes to people with criminal convictions. As with LGBT immigrants and other vulnerable populations, ICE should start with a presumption of hardship for people with community and family ties. The burden should be on ICE to prove need for deportation and detention.

In addition, the executive branch has created programs that criminalize immigration and allow local police to act as immigration agents. Operation Streamline, for example, mandates the criminal prosecution of nearly every individual detained for unlawfully crossing the southern United States border. The program is one of the main reasons that immigration-­‐related crimes now make up 40% of federal criminal prosecutions. Operation Streamline, like other ICE-access programs, was created by the Executive branch, not by Congress. Just as the Executive branch created the program, it can end it. President Obama has the constitutional authority not only to decline to prosecute, but to pardon any and all violations of criminal immigration laws—in advance or after the fact, for any reason or no reason at all, on an individual or a categorical basis. In the face of this broad authority, there can be no question that the President could end Operation Streamline immediately and the criminal prosecution of people for immigration-related violations.

Lastly, the President could end all collaboration between local police enforcement and immigration enforcement. Even after the end of the Secure Communities program, the Priority Enforcement Program continues to seek collaboration with local governments to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Ending collaboration between police and ICE is an important step that opens the door for trust between communities and police.


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List of Signers as of May 18, 2015 (9:30 Eastern)

2 18MillionRising.org Cayden Mak
3 Actors Equity-AFL-CIO Alfred Cross
4 Advancing Justice – AAJC Prerna Lal
5 Advocacy for Justice and Peace Committee of the Sisters of St. F Sr. Frances Murray
6 Alianzas Latino Outreach Nina Guzman
7 Allies for Knoxville\\\’s Immigrant Neighbors M reeves
8 Alvernia University Mission Office Judith Bohler
9 America\’s Voice Lynn Tramonte
10 Amistad ~ ¡por la Paz! Kathryn Albrecht
11 API Equality-LA Eileen Ma
12 APSA Executive Board Kasuni Bodinayake
13 Arkansas Coalition for DREAM Rosa Velazquez
14 Arkansas Interfaith Alliance Stephen Copley
15 Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA Anthony Ng
16 Asian Pacific Student Association @ UCI Amy Yu
17 ASPIRE-LA anthony ng
18 Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice Namita Chad
19 Atlanta Jobs with Justice Neil Sardana
20 Atlanta Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee Katherine Acker
21 BASF Jc Sarmiento
22 Bay Area Guatemala Action (BAGUA) Edgar Ayala
23 Beacon Unitarian-Universalist Cong. Anne Cotten
24 Birmingham High School Iris Edinger
25 Black alliance for just immigration Opal Tometi
26 Black Lives Matter Patrisse Cullors
27 BSHC Martha Perez
28 California Immigrant Policy Center Jon Rodney
29 California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance Luis Ojeda
30 Call to Action/Rio Grande Valley Texas David Jackson
31 Casa Freehold Marguerita Dentino
32 Casa San Jose Monica Ruiz
33 Central Ohio Worker Center Ruben Castilla Herrera
34 Channing Memorial Church joanne armenia
35 Chicago Community and Workers Rights Martin Unzueta
36 Chicago Jobs with Justice Susan Hurley
37 Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) Lissette Castillo
38 Chinese for Affirmative Action Grace Lee
39 Church and Society Network, The United Methodist Church Mary Ann Dimand
40 Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador Paula Jackson
41 Church World Service Erol Kekic
42 Cleveland Jobs with Justice Deb Kline
43 Climate Jobs Portland (OR) Dave & Laurie King
44 Columbine Unitarian Church Maureen Flanigan
45 Comite de Derechos Humanos de Forks/ Forks Human Rights Group Lesley Hoare
46 Community Services Unlimited Inc Neelam Sharma
47 Congress of Day Laborers Fernando Lopez
48 CTA/NEA William Briggs
49 D.C. Center for Immigrant Justice Lindsay Schubiner
50 Dare to Dream: Get Educated! Conference for Latina Teens Cynthia Brito
51 Detention Watch Network Silky Shah
52 Dignity and power now Carla Gonzalez
53 Dominican Sisters Mary Carr
54 DREAMers of Virginia Jose Caceres
1 DRM – Dream Action Coalition Erika Andiola
55 DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving Fahd Ahmed
56 East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition Itzel Calvo
57 East Shore Unitarian Church Marilyn Mayers
58 Editide Sue and John Morris
59 El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas Jessica Culley
60 El/La Para TransLatinas Isa Noyola
61 Empowered Connections LLC Deb Duley
62 Enlace Daniel Carrillo
63 Episcopal Peace Fellowship David Atwood
64 Everglades Earth First! Niko Segal-Wright
65 Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement Jorge Gutierrez
66 Farmworker Association of Florida Antonio Tovar
67 Fearless Undocumented Alliance natalie cruz
68 First Congregational Church of Palo Alto Eileen Altman
69 First Friends sue Kenney
70 First Nation Ministry Anthony Commarata
71 Florida Immigrant Coalition Katherine Gorell
72 Food Chain Workers Alliance Joann Lo
73 Fresno Immigrant Youth in Action Brisa Cruz
74 Fullerton Dream Team Faby Jacome
75 Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights Adelina Nicholls
76 Got Green Jill Mangaliman
77 Grace United Methodist Church Karen Baker
78 Grupo de Apoyo e Integracion Hispanoamericano Erika Sutherland
79 HEAL-ONLINE.ORG Angela Smith
80 Healing Justice Ministries, Parker Lane UMC, Austin TX Bill Carter
81 Homestead Equal rights for all Michael Sanchez
82 Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Fred Tsao
83 Illinois Dream Fund Tanya Cabrera
84 Immigrant Youth Coalition Marcela Hernandez
85 Immigration Action Group Yadira Diaz
86 Immigration Task Force of the California Nevada Annual Conferenc Linda Kuruhara
87 Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition Maria Rodriguez
88 jackson county, oregon democrats Ralph Browning
89 Jobs With Justice Natalie Patrick-Knox
90 Juntos Erika Almiron
91 Justice for Our Neighbors Southeastern Michigan Victoria Booker
92 Keystone Progress Michael Morrill
93 Laguna Immigrants Keith Johnson
94 Latin American Coalition Ana Suarez
95 Latin@ Youth Action League Jocelyn Munguia
96 Latino Advocacy Maru Mora Villalpando
97 LGBT Straight Alliance Alexander Start
98 Long Island Jobs with Justice victoria daza
99 Los Angeles Brown Berets / youth justice coalition Juan Pena
100 LTSC Community Development Corporation Laura Blosser
101 Lucha Pro Licencias PA:HB1648 Maria Serna
102 Madre Tierra Collective Lissette Miller
103 make the road ny Maria Reinoso
104 Mass Jobs with Justice Melonie Griffiths
105 Migrant Power Movement Erika Nunez
106 Ministerios Nuevo Amanecer Eldaah Arango
107 Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates Vanessa Crawford Aragon
108 Moveon.org Kathy Rouson
109 Napa Valley Dream Team Alex Hoyt
110 National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) SG Sarmiento
111 National Domestic Worker Alliance B Loewe
112 National Justice for Our Neighbors Rob Rutland-Brown
113 National Latino Progressive Voter Party Mrs Eusebia Luna Aquino-Hughes
114 National People\’s Actoin Liz Ryan Murray
115 Neighbors for Immigration Reform Jeffrey Richardson
116 new mexico faith coalition for immigrnat justice Renny Golden
117 New sanctuary coalition Catherine Stetts
118 New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia Nicole Kligerman
119 Nicaragua Center for Community Action DIANA BOHN
120 NJ State Industrial Union Council Carol Gay
121 Nuestro Centro Jackie Fitzgerald
122 NY State Council of Churches Brooke Newell
123 opportunity enterprises karen stickney
124 Orange County Immigrant Youth United Hairo Cortes
125 Organized Communities Against Deportations Reyna Wences
126 P.A.S.O.- West Suburban Action Project Yesenia Sanchez
127 Peace Church Seattle – United Methodist Lorellen Nausner
128 Pennsylvania Council of Churches Sandra Strauss
129 Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition Natasha Kelemen
130 Philadelphia JACL Hiro Nishikawa
131 PODER Jeanette Martin
132 PPOFT Flora Csontos
133 Pre-Health Dreamers Denisse Rojas
134 Presente.org Mariana Ruiz
135 President, Wilco Justice Alliane, Williamson County, TX Jane Leatherman Van Praag
136 private citizen Meryle A. Korn
137 Private citizen and voter Camilla Cracchiolo
138 Progressive Democrats of America – Arizona Dan O\’Neal
139 Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Laura Martin
140 Public Counsel David Sena
141 Puente Francisca Porchas
142 RAIZ Alexis Nava Teodoro
143 Responsible Endowments Coalition Ian Trupin
144 RPM L R
145 Sacramento Immigration Alliance Jennifer Morales
146 San Diego Dream Team Gina Diaz
147 San Fernando Valley Dream Team Christian Alvarez
148 San Joaquin Immigrant Youth Collective Michelle Fajardo
149 Santa Ana Boys and Men of Color Abraham Medina
150 School Sisters of Notre Dame Atlantic Midwest Province Sister Lupita Cordero
151 SIM Vinicius Quirino
152 Sisters of Providence Clare Lentz
153 Sisters of St. Joseph Sister Anna Marie Broxterman
154 Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O\’Fallon, MO Sister Carol Boschert
156 SONG Paulina Helm-Hernandez
157 south bronx community congress ed figueroa
158 Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project (SSIP) Jose Eduardo Vera
159 St Joseph Valley Project Jobs with Justice Joseph Carbone
160 St Leonard Parish Jose Cisneros
161 St. Vincent de Paul Society Joyce Lewis
162 Standing on the Side of Love Usandra Cawthern
163 Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Stephanie Teatro
164 Thai Community Development Center Chanchanit Martorell
165 The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Azadeh Zohrabi
166 The Gran Varones Louie Ortiz
167 The Resurrection Project Erendira Rendon
168 Transgender Law Center Kris Hayashi
169 Trinity/Las Americs United Methodist Church, DSM IA Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz
170 Tucson Bus Riders\’ Union Maria Cadaxa
171 Tucson Samaritans Carol Schurr
172 Tucson Samaritans Maria Ochoa
173 UIUC Joanna Perez
174 Undocumented Students and Allies at IIT Egle Malinauskaite
175 Unidad Latina en Accion NJ Jorge Torres
176 Union Civica Primero de Mayo Alma Lopez
177 Unitarian Universalist Association Nora Rasman
178 Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network Anita Mentzer
179 United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society Bill Mefford
180 University of Massachusetts Michael Wolff
181 University of Washington Ariana Flores
182 UnLocal, Inc. Michele Lampach
183 USN Gerardo Ceballos
184 UU Community of Frankfort Ruby Layson
185 Voces de la Frontera Christine Neumann-Ortiz
186 Waco immigration alliance Nick Haynes
187 Washington Park United Church of Christ Alice Silver
188 We Are San Juan Karen Huerta
189 We Belong Together Anna Duncan
190 WeCount! Jonathan Fried
191 Western Governor\’s University Karen Thomas
192 Womens International League for Peace and Freedom Vivian Schatz
193 Yakima County Dream Team Elizabeth Lara
194 Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network Walter Sherwood
195 Youth Against Rape Culture Abby Hylton