(September 10, 2014, Los Angeles) – Obama’s announcement Saturday to delay any executive action to protect families from deportation, though disappointing, is not surprising. Obama’s decision to ignore the lives of migrants in order to play politics is nothing new.
As a coalition, we have individually and collectively worked towards stopping deportations through different avenues and innovative strategies. Enforcement policies, such as Secure Communities, which have relied on information-sharing and collaboration between federal immigration enforcement and local police have been proven deeply flawed. Yet, these policies continue to be fully operational and continue to terrorize, criminalize, and separate families.
While Obama waits for the moment when it is politically safe to make and implement administrative relief, immigrant communities that could be relieved from deportation by Obama’s executive order will continue risk of being detained and deported.
The fact that the immigrant rights movement has moved Obama to make changes is clear acknowledgement that Obama’s detention and deportation policies are a failure. For this reason, it is imperative that Obama end the Secure Communities program and other forms of collaboration with local law enforcement. The administration must also cease all policies that allow ICE presence in jails and prisons. Obama has already solidified his legacy as “Deporter-in-Chief,” with more than 2 million deportations by his Administration from a 400,000-a-year deportation quota. Obama must address all areas of out-of-control immigration enforcement to relieve as many people from deportation as possible, as soon as possible.
In California, the passage of the TRUST Act was a bittersweet victory for those who fought so hard to pass it. It was a much watered-down version of the bill originally envisioned. Thus, as soon as it passed, we began to say that the TRUST Act was “just the floor and not the ceiling,” as we continued to fight for a local policy above and beyond the TRUST Act. Yet, even with the TRUST Act, violations are common and our community continues to be separated. Therefore, as we once again witness Obama go back on his word, we will continue to fight in our local communities for broader policies and until ICE is out of LA.
ICE out of LA consists of Los Angeles-based grassroots, faith based, labor, legal and civil rights organizations, including CARECEN.
CARECEN has worked for 31 years to protect the rights and dignity of Central American and Latino immigrants in Southern California. Since its founding in 1983, when thousands of Central Americans were fleeing the brutality of civil war, CARECEN has worked to change unjust immigration policies, win legal status for immigrants, and foster community activism on issues such as education reform, workers and immigrant rights, economic justice and community strengthening.