#Not1More Deportation

All posts tagged president obama

Below is an opinion piece from Blanca Hernandez, a DACA recipient and paralegal in Washington, DC who interrupted the President during his speech at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Gala. 

It isn’t easy to stand up and interrupt the most powerful man in the world but it is also impossible to sit through a speech of his at an event celebrating Latino culture while he continues to deport our families.

I interrupted because I am tired of listening to the same song and being expected to dance despite there still being no action behind it.

People may say this speech was different. Senator Menendez introduced President Obama saying we need immediate relief, a position not reflected in the political cover the Caucus as a whole gave the White House last week. Observers will say the President was firm and committed to action. But he was firm and committed when he announced and delayed his executive immigration reforms since this past Spring.

Instead, it sounded to me like the same promise we’ve heard a million times before. And as always, alongside the pledge to act, he made sure that his political party interests were included in his speech.

While he talked, I stood up from my seat, only able to think of the many who are currently detained in line for deportation and the many who have already been deported.

I had in my hand the petition for the husbands of two women who came to DC to express to the President the urgency of acting now, not later. On my way inside, Maritza from Juntos told me how her children’s asthma has worsened since their father was detained, how she herself is in ill health, but how she still believes the President will help her family – if we keep pushing.

Had the President kept his promise of his first term, so much pain like her’s could have been saved. So many families would still be together. And there would be so much more to celebrate. The President talks about the value of family and CHCI had the audacity to invite him to celebrate “our heritage.” But our heritage is celebrated through family, not through the separation of them.

When we criticize the President’s policies, we’re often told that DACA, the program that immigrant youth’s organizing forced him to create, is a sign of where he stands. But as a DACA recipient, it is insulting to hear when it is so far less than what the President promised and something used to divide instead of to benefit the undocumented community at large. It is a bandaid that he has placed on a major wound and that, in comparison to what he promised, has left so much still undone.

Our communities continue to be terrorized by the deportation machine and children continue to be separated from their parents. This year’s Congressional class has the most Latinos in history and the most deportations as well. And so far, the former has yet to exercise its power to stop the latter. And so it was impossible for me to stay in my seat last night.

Those around me last night may have been uncomfortable with my speaking out, some even shushed. But their uneasiness should have been directed at a celebration with the President who had just broke his promise but still expected our applause.

As inconvenient as it can be, you know you’re speaking the truth when it “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.” It’s how we won DACA. It’s how we’ve moved the President to the promise of further executive action. And it’s what was being said by the families outside the black tie affair who simply want their loved ones home again. The fact that the President was on stage instead of the heroes who have overcome their fear, endured such suffering, and still came to the gala to be heard is exactly why I had to speak out and why the protests will continue until undocumented people have their rightful place on stage at our celebrations, at the table in our negotiations, and fully included in the country they call home.

President Obama
We ask to refrain from meetings with President without undocumented people there to represent themselves. Read more

Letter by Yestel Velasquez from South Louisiana Correctional Center, after ICE conducted a sweeping workplace raid in Kenner, Louisiana, based on racial profiling. [UPDATE: Yestel was granted a 1 year stay of removal and released from detention in August. Read more here]

Yestel and ZunildaMy name is Yestel Antonio Velasquez. I am a reconstruction worker from New Orleans. I am writing to you, President Obama, to share the experience of Latino communities in New Orleans.

Like many Latino families in the New Orleans area, I came to this city after Hurricane Katrina to help with the reconstruction and build a better future for the city. I am very proud of the work we have done. But now ICE and local police are terrorizing the Latino community. Because of the raids, our families are being broken apart and we are being disappeared. I am writing this letter from jail because ICE raided a Latino auto shop where I happened to be getting my car repaired.

President Obama, I hear that you care about the Latino and immigrant community and want to make things more humane for us. But here in New Orleans, across the South, and all around the country, we are facing the daily inhumanity of being hunted by ICE, torn apart from our families, and disappeared from the communities we helped rebuild. Is this what you want for us? Are we to prepare our families and communities we have worked so hard to build for their destruction?

I came to New Orleans in 2005, a few months after Hurricane Katrina hit the city. I remember that in those days New Orleans felt dead and desolate. There was so much sadness. It seemed like the city would never recover. As a reconstruction worker, I worked in waste removal, cleaning away the debris, mud, and dirt that covered the city. I helped reconstruct schools, homes, and many areas of the city. Read more

1. Will the President use his “Either Congress acts, or I will” line about immigration ?

John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress, now works at the White House and says the President is “warming up” to the idea of using his executive powers on retirement, climate, and labor issues.   The President has said he can take action “with a pen and phone,” but he has conspicuously avoided using this line with respect to immigration.  

The truth is that the President has exercised considerable executive  discretion on immigration for 5 years, he is just doing so poorly.   DACA  is the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal record (notwithstanding very legitimate critiques about the fact that it bifurcated the undocumented community into “deserving”/ “undeserving,” criminal/non-criminal groups).   More frequently, the President used his discretion to increase suffering rather than alleviate it (Eg, the “secure communities” deportation quota program—which was not mandated by law, but created through discretionary executive action–spread Arizonification nation-wide).  

The question is not will the President use his authority on immigration.  It’s how will he use it? Read more

Read more

New York Times

President Obama urged Congress on Thursday to revive immigration reform, which is not dead but not moving, either. He was talking mostly to House Republicans, though he also urged business, labor and religious groups to “keep putting the pressure on all of us to get this done.”

It’s good that Mr. Obama said “us.” It acknowledges his own role in this continuing disaster.

Much of the responsibility to fix what Mr. Obama calls the “broken immigration system” lies within his own administration. He can’t rewrite immigration laws, but he can control how well — or disastrously — they are enforced. He can begin by undoing the damage done by his Homeland Security Department. Mr. Obama has just nominated Jeh Johnson, a former Defense Department general counsel, to replace homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano, who resigned in July. It’s the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Here is what it might look like:

STOP NEEDLESS DEPORTATIONS The Obama administration has kept up a frantic pace of 400,000 deportations a year, and is closing in on two million. Those numbers are driven by politics, not public safety. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has wide discretion to determine whom it detains and deports. It can retool all its policies to make noncriminals and minor offenders — the people most likely to benefit from the reform now stalled in Congress — the lowest priority for deportation.

The deportation surge is fed by programs like Secure Communities, which does immigration checks on everyone arrested by local and state law enforcement, and Operation Streamline, in which border crossers in the Southwest are prosecuted en masse, with little access to legal representation. Mr. Obama turned the dragnet on, and can turn it off. In marches and vigils across the country, protesters have made one plea on deportations to Mr. Obama: “Not one more.”

Read the rest here >>

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Watch Live:

As President Visits Los Angeles to Fundraise, Undocumented People and Allies Unfurl Banner Reading “Not1More Deportation” in Intersection at 26th and San Vicente in Santa Monica.

(06.07.2013) Los Angeles, CA  – Seated around a banner that says “Undocumented, Unafraid: Not1More Deportation” 11 undocumented people and allies blocked a busy intersection in Santa Monica during a larger rally nearby the President’s Los Angeles fundraiser. The rally referred to Los Angeles as the “deportation capital of the United States” citing that Los Angeles County deports more people under programs like “Secure Communities” than any other in the country, even more than Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona.

Similar to protests that greeted the President when he visited his hometown of Chicago, participants are risking arrest to urge the President to stop the 1,100 daily deportations that he continues to oversee as Congress debates reform.

“Why should my family still have to live in fear of being deported at the same time that Congress is talking about passing immigration reform? ” asked Myisha Arellano, an undocumented member of the Immigrant Youth Coalition originally from Mexico. “The President can’t just give speeches about reform when he’s also deporting our families in record numbers. He could stop our suffering and stop deportations with the stroke of a pen.”

Another protestor, Adrian James, an undocumented Malaysian-Indian immigrant from Thailand said, “Under the President’s current policies, people are being racially profiled and targeted. Victims of crimes can’t even seek help. We’re doing this to make that change.”

Luis Serrano, an undocumented member of the Immigrant Youth Coalition, added “It doesn’t make sense to keep deporting people that could qualify for immigration reform. We want our families to still be here when a path to citizenship opens. We’re calling on the President to give our parents and everyone in our community the same relief he gave when he created DACA.”

Also in attendance at the rally were families currently in deportation proceedings whose specific cases protestors were calling to be closed.

Read the bios of the participants here

Livestream at http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/2013/06/07/iyc-demo/. Follow on Twitter at @ImmigrantPower and @NDLON



(05.29.2013) Chicago, IL – Seated around a banner with the number 400,000, the amount of people scheduled to be deported this year under White House quota, Chicagoans mounted a morning rush hour protest to call on President Obama to suspend deportations as Congress seeks reform.

“Plans and promises of immigration reform are not enough. While Congress is talking about passing immigration reform, I’m scared that my own parents will be one of the 1,100 who are deported every day,” explains undocumented protestor Stephanie Camba, 22. “The President can’t be a bystander in reform when he could stop our suffering and stop deportations with the stroke of a pen.”

Another protestor, Ireri Unzueta Carrasco, 26, a recipient of the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) said, “It doesn’t make sense to keep deporting people that could qualify for immigration reform. We want our families to still be here when a path to citizenship opens. We’re calling on the President to give our parents and everyone in our community the same relief he gave us.”

The protestors sat on Michigan Avenue circling a banner saying “400,000, Not 1 More Deportation” in front of the Hilton hotel, where the President is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser later in the day. An additional afternoon immigrant rights rally is planned for 4: 30pm across from the Hotel.

Protestors Are Asking Supporters to Take Action:

1. Sign the petition to the President calling for a suspension of deportations.
2. Call (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senator. When transferred, tell them that a key step to supporting immigration reform is getting the President to stop the deportations of those who could be included in it.

Sample Script: I’m calling to ask the Senator to send a letter asking the President to stop deportations as Congress seeks reform. It doesn’t make sense to keep deporting people today who could be offered the path to citizenship tomorrow. Each day that the debate in Congress continues another 1,100 people are deported. The President could end the suffering of those families and move immigration reform forward with the stroke of a pen and I’m asking for your office to go on record with that request.

Read about the 12 people arrested here



Livestream at www.ustream.tv/user/undocumentedil. Follow on Twitter at @UndocuIL and @IYJL