#Not1More Deportation

All posts tagged deferred action

Photo credit: Diane Ovalle

Photo credit: Diane Ovalle

Questions & Answers on the Call for a Moratorium post-Supreme Court Decision

By: Tania Unzueta, Policy & Legal Director

After the 4-4 ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States failed to lift the injunction expanding the deferred action programs, President Obama stated in a nationally televised press conference that he did not expect further executive actions on immigration to be feasible before the end of his presidency.[1]

He stated that the only alternative is to pressure Congress to pass immigrant rights legislation and focus on getting a good candidate in the November election.

So, why are we calling for a moratorium on deportations from President Obama?

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Today, the 5th circuit court of appeals rejected the Department of Justice’s emergency stay of the injunction in the lawsuit against the expansion of deferred action.

In reaction to the news, groups from the #Not1More campaign issued the following statements:

“Today’s decision by the 5th circuit is political theatre and judicial activism at its worse. They threaten to block progress but will not succeed. Communities won these protections and they will defend them. In times like these, the best defense is a good offense. The push for migrant rights is not limited to the courtroom in New Orleans. Its time to end immigrant detention, end police and ICE collaboration and expand deportation relief to the maximum amount possible.” – Marisa Franco of the #Not1More Campaign (Phoenix, AZ)

“We organized in Philadelphia to end the collaboration between local police and ICE, to keep our families and loved ones here with us, and we won. With that we helped build a strong movement to force the most powerful man in the country to act on our behalf. But our movement didn’t end there. There is more work to do and this injunction will not stop us. We here in Philadelphia are prepared to keep fighting for DACA and DAPA as well as the end to the criminalization of our people, an ICE Free Philly, the end of deportations and an end to the unjust detention of our families in Berks and beyond.” – Erika Almiron of Juntos (Philadelphia, PA)

“Once again politics are placed before people. The gains we won as undocumented and detained communities to pressure the Obama administration to act and stop at least some deportations last year, are instead being used to play politics with our lives. President Obama should move ahead and expand relief regardless of politics, since our communities continue being round up, detained and separated from their families through the deportation machine.” – Maru Mora Villalpando of Latino Advocacy (Seattle, WA)

“The courts may be holding up deferred action but nothing is holding the President back from ending the detention system, starting with trans and queer/lesbian/gay/bi detainees that ICE has proven unable and unwilling to keep safe. It was people power that moved President Obama to act and we will not stop until we have Not 1 More Deportation!” – Paulina Hernandez of Southerners on New Ground (Atlanta, GA)

“While we expected the continued delay of expanded deferred action as the courts continue to play political games with our families, the President’s hands are far from tied to stop the crisis of deportations our families continue to face. Even with notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio facing possible jail time for violating a court order to stop racially profiling, President Obama continues to deport his victims. At the same time, the abuses in detention continue to cost us our lives, as with Jose Sahagun who died under mysterious circumstances at the Eloy Detention Center just last week. Justice for our community starts with an end to police-ICE collaboration and immigration detention.” – Carlos Garcia of Puente Arizona (Phoenix, AZ)

“Our community cannot sit back and wait for for courts to lift the DAPA injunction. We must continue to organize and demand an end to all deportation. And right now, the current administration can prioritize addressing the abuses of undocumented LGBTQ people and other vulnerable populations in detention and release them now.” – Jorge Gutierrez of FAMILIA TQLM (Los Angeles, CA)

“Although Admin Relief remains temporarily on hold, undocumented youth remain convinced that these programs will ultimately move forward, and undeterred in the fact that the President has more work and legal avenues to end immigrant detention and the deportation programs that prompted our community to come out of the shadows. If candidate Clinton can promise further action, then President Obama can and should deliver it.” – Hairo Cortes of Orange County Immigrant Youth United (Orange County, CA)

“Over and over again, we see political games played with the lives of our community. Millions of undocumented immigrants are pushing for the opportunity to be treated with dignity and respect as human beings. But meanwhile, the enforcement apparatus is still at work. We know that this decision does nothing about the ongoing deportation quota, and the ongoing criminalization of our communities. It does not address the root cause of why our communities are pushed out of their homes. With papers or without, we, as people of color, will continue to be targeted by the system. For that reason, it is important for us to continue to hold these elected officials accountable, and know that we will not sit and wait for action to be taken. We will fight until there’s #Not1More deportation, #Not1More POL-ICE collaboration, and #LiberationNotCriminalization.” – Edna Monroy of California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance

“The administration cannot have it both ways on immigration, saying its a champion for our community while continuing to raid our homes. 287(g) is a program that’s been ended almost everywhere in the country because of the abuse and profiling it causes but it’s still active in two of our counties.  The President doesn’t just have unused power, he has unfulfilled promises to complete to make immigration police more humane. He should fight with everything there is in court and complement it by finally ending police-ICE collaboration once and for all.” – Adelina Nicholls of Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (Atlanta, GA)

“Once more the so called judicial system has failed to deliver justice. We cannot count on the same government that oppresses us to deliver justice for us. This is not a surprise and should not discourage us from continuing to push, instead it should be a reminder that only those directly affected can deliver justice for themselves, and only by continuing to organize will we be able to achieve the justice that we deserve.” – Fernando Lopez of the Congreso de Jornaleros (New Orleans, LA)

Janet Napolitano reemerged recently to lay claim to the success of the deferred action program and clarify it’s creation with a lecture, “The Anatomy of a Legal Decision.” But most striking in her speech and surrounding media tour are not the answers she provides but the questions her comments raise.

“She pushed ahead anyway and took the proposal to the White House. Though she never met with Obama about it”

Why Not?

“Republican Senator Jeff Sessions began criticizing DHS for, in his view, not enforcing immigration laws vigorously enough. That same moment, a group of protestors stood up in the rear of the hearing room. They began shouting, and waving signs that said DHS was enforcing immigration laws too vigorously.”

Protestors Interrupt Napolitano Testimony

“…We liked to joke, or rather half-joke, at DHS that if both sides were kicking us with equal vigor, well, then we must be doing something right….”

Except one is an elected official defending xenophobia
and out-dated politics and the other is a person
defending both their family and bedrock civil rights.
That’s not ‘two sides of a debate.’ That’s hateful politics
versus those victimized by it.

“It just seemed to me that we needed to do something for this group of young people,” she added. “They were brought here as kids, not of their own volition. They really are kind of the worst victims of the lack of immigration reform.”

“The vast majority of young people who were Dreamers were not in proceedings; they would still have to constantly look over their shoulders to see whether ICE agents were about to pick them up. I wanted to create a potential pathway to deferred action for all Dreamers, not just those already caught up in the system.”

“Based on my conversations with lawmakers at the time and through the course of the next year, it was clear to me that a bipartisan majority of lawmakers agreed that Dreamers were different.”

Dreamers are different than what?
Why did she draw the line of deserving
and undeserving at “Dreamers”?
(Here she both makes dreamers an exception
and blames their parents while failing to mention how
the creation of DACA coincided with the exponential
growth in criminalization programs that caused the
rest of the undocumented community to
‘constantly look over their shoulders’)

“So, we pressed ahead and presented our proposal for DACA and its implementation to the White House.”

What role did the immigrant youth movement have in the creation of DACA? Except for the mention of being interrupted during her testimony, Napolitano erases the powerful grassroots push for executive action and the pressure it created on the President to act.

It’s notable that Napolitano is coming out reinforcing the President’s authority to act on immigration. She even cites some of the same precedent-setting court cases as NDLON in the rulemaking petition we filed with the Department of Homeland Security in February of 2013.  But one has to also ask, given her primary role in the record deportations that has continued to cause protest at her new post as President of the University of California system, Why is she speaking on this now? Is she doing so in coordination with the White House or on her own? Like she says, “This is an election season, and immigration policy and DACA are still very much in political play.”

President Obama on Tuesday ruled out using his executive authority to freeze deportations for most of the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, saying such a move would violate federal law.

With a comprehensive immigration overhaul stalled on Capitol Hill, advocates have called on the president to move forward without congressional approval to halt the deportations, estimated at more than 1,000 per day.

But Obama said such a move is “not an option.” During an interview at the White House with Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network, Obama defended his decision last summer to defer the deportations of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents as children. The legal rationale in that case, he said, was to allow federal agencies to devote more time and resources to high-priority immigration cases such as those involving people with multiple criminal convictions. Read more