Grassroots leaders demand reform, not deportations

Yesterday, grassroots leaders gathered at a stand-up press conference in Washington, DC and denounced the Obama administration’s current immigration policy.

“Millions of citizens and new Americans voted for change, and what they got, as far as immigration issues are concerned, is more, much more of the same,” said the opening speaker, Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).  “We demand an immediate stop to the deportations because each one of these deportations equals a life destroyed and a family devastated.”

After 8 years of enforcement only policies at the hands of the Bush administration, advocates were hopeful that last year’s inauguration of Barack Obama would usher in a new day for immigration reform. As the last year has come and gone, the patience advocates once held for Obama has worn thin and the time has come to denounce the current policy for what it really is.

“(President Obama), you have not only broken your promise to move immigration reform, you have made the situation worse by deporting more people, separating more families and breaking more children’s hearts than did the Republicans in their final year,” said Artemio Arreola. “You have the power. You must use it, or lose it.”

Advocates cited numbers that showed deportations had actually risen during Obama’s first year in office – 387,790,  compared to 64,503 in the last year of the Bush administration. The Department of Homeland Security, apparently embarassed by these numbers, quickly moved to “clarify” them. From the Washington Post:

A DHS spokesman said the report [where the 387,790 number was originally published] erred by lumping together in the 2009 figure the number of illegal immigrants deported with those permitted to leave on their own power rather than being physically removed by ICE, an option called “voluntary departure.”

What does this mean? Matthew Kolken summarized it nicely in his blog post this morning:

Don’t believe the hype, as this is nothing more than political spin.  Voluntary departure is a euphemism for voluntary deportation. Although an individual may avoid the stigma of an order of removal if they are granted voluntary deportation by attesting to their willingness to leave the United States within a set number of days (a maximum of 120 days) and by paying for their own way home to their native country, make no mistake about it, the individual must LEAVE the United States, and there is nothing voluntary about it.

Basically, regardless of “voluntary” or not, the number of deportations has dramatically increased, which means more families have been separated, more children have been left without their mother or father and more destruction has been wrought at the hands of our broken system. And the grassroots movement will no longer be patient.

We are marching by the tens of thousands on March 21st and we are demanding action be taken. If not now, when?

5 responses to “Grassroots leaders demand reform, not deportations

  1. Pingback: Video: Pramila Jayapal of One America at DC News Conference « Detention & Deportation News

  2. Every day drug smugglers try to get drugs across the US border. Do they think about the homes that will be destroyed due to addictions caused by those drugs?
    No – they don’t. And they don’t care.
    Our workforce is debilitated by them and their brethren on the other side of the border either don’t care, either, or just watch silently.
    That is why we cannot afford immigrants. They won’t police their own. Even the children say their parents do nothing to effectively stop the gangs from forming and increasing in power.

  3. Do not make the error of clumping together all immigrants, legal or illegal, into the sub-category of ‘drug lords’ and ‘gangs’. True, this is a problem, and they do not police themselves, they are policed by us, and often unsuccessfully. Yes, many households are torn apart by the ongoing drug trade and traffic, however, I would assert that this is a case of looking for someone to blame: The ‘drug addicts’ that I know have been highly disruptive in the workplace, in their homes, and with their children re. social services – this has nothing to do with where they got the drugs, or where they were sourced from. These folks are as much to blame for their usage: it matters not who sold it to them, a US citizen (for which they are many who do), or a person without papers. The vast, vast majority of Latinos (and others) living here without current documents are hard-working, non-criminal, determined, family-oriented people, whose only crime (and I do mean only) is working around a system (some people will call this ‘gaming’ the system) in order to stay, work, be with the ones they love, and have a better life. It’s the system that is broken, not the people ‘gaming’ it. Those who won’t play by the rules under a fair and workable system are crossing the line. With this current establishment, they are being resourceful and courageous. Not enough people who aren’t directly involved ever post about this issue, it’s usually people who are against reform and immigration who do. That also has to stop, because those anti-groups are NOT the majority. I hope that there is soon fair reform.

  4. So, why do they come here if it is sooooo difficult to game our system? Why don’t they go somewhere else where there is better health insurance and more freebies?
    For instance, Spain, since Spain actually had something to do with the history of Mexico.
    Polls show that the majority do not support illegal immigration.
    It doesn’t matter how many don’t do drugs – only one illegal who comes here and deals is too much. In my state there are constant arrests of illegals with not only drugs – but weapons and very serious hard drugs. In addition, they are setting up grows in the national forests.
    You know this. Everyone knows this.

  5. If anyone blames incorrectly, it is Mexicans who should blame Spain. They can’t hurt Spain, because Spain is too far away. They can’t hurt Spain, because many of them are part Spanish.
    So, pick on Americans, because we are convenient and an easy target.

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