Immigration Advocates Launch “Fast to Keep Families Together” Demanding Federal Court Ruling on Administrative Relief

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Contact: Carlos Vogel, (202) 239-2133

5th Circuit Judges are Functionally Acting as Puppets of Far-Right Anti-Immigrant Republicans  

(New Orleans, LA)--The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), along with directly impacted immigrant families and national leaders representing faith, labor, civil rights and the community today launched “The Fast to Keep Families Together” - a powerful nine day fast and vigil to demand that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rule on the administrative relief case they have been sitting on for almost a year. The administrative relief programs could keep families together and provide them with temporary protections.

The nine-day fast and vigil, being held in front of the 5th Circuit courthouse in New Orleans, started with nine participants from California, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon. Solidarity fasts are also planned in Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas throughout the duration of the fast. Other national and local leaders will join fasters and commit to fast in solidarity for periods of one to three days.

"I have two small children, seven and nine, who are the engines of our lives. Today I join a program of sacrifice, of fast. The sacrifice for me as a mother is not so much the fasting. The fast is a way to protest against the violence and the separation and deportation of thousands of undocumented immigrants,” said Isabel Medina, a leader with the Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice (CHIRLA), and who is eligible for DAPA. “My sacrifice is the separation of my children, that although today is voluntary for me, it is not for thousands of undocumented immigrants, who have been forced and snatched from their homes by these unjust laws that we currently have in our nation."

The strategy of anti-immigrant Republicans, aided by a conservative court delaying a response to President Obama’s administrative relief, is tearing apart thousands of families every day. Republicans are playing politics with the legal system and people’s lives and are putting American values on hold.

"I am here to support the 11 million undocumented immigrants. It is nine days that I’ll be out of work and putting my health at risk, but it doesn't matter. I'm fighting for the future of my children and I am willing to risk it all for the 11 million. We will stand firm for them,” said Miguel Claros, DAPA eligible leader with We are Maryland.. “My message to the 5th Circuit Court and the honorable judges is that they fulfill their roles as judges, not as politicians. My message is simple, enforce the laws. We deserve it and we’ll make it happen.”

“Every day the 5th Circuit Court delays its decision, it is making a political choice,” said FIRM spokesperson Sulma Arias. “There is no reason to sit on this decision other than to advance the partisan political agenda of anti-immigrant Republicans. Tearing families apart to advance an anti-immigrant agenda for political reasons is unacceptable and inhumane.  Politicians and judges who stand against DAPA and DACA stand against American families and communities.”

Only weeks ago Pope Francis attempted to teach these Republicans about the Golden Rule: "Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.”

"I would like to tell the people who have the power it is not about politics. It is about human beings. Their delay strategy is affecting millions of people who might have a little bit of security knowing they can keep their families together,” Said Nora Hernandez, DACA extension eligible and a leader with El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos in New Mexico. “Their inaction is an offense against humanity. I have always said that it is just as guilty to be the one who commits an injustice, as the one who does not do something to remedy it. And they are not doing anything to remedy the suffering of 11 million people.”

With this lawsuit, Republicans want to deport the parents of five million U.S citizens who work hard and contribute every day to America’s economy and communities. A delay on the part of the 5th Circuit not only prevents the Supreme Court from making a final decision, but defers justice for immigrant communities. There is so much at stake for Latinos and immigrants in America. This timeline is serious.

If President Obama’s administrative relief could be in place now, they would no doubt be a success. His policies would improve the lives of American children and families, create jobs, expand the GDP, and add billions to our tax coffers.

“We are watching every move judges and anti-immigrant extremists make and we will not forget who stood with us and who was against us,” added Arias. “Latino and immigrant communities will rise above the anti-immigrant rhetoric, hate, and intolerance and will fight hard and fight back until we prevail in the courts and can move to implement DACA+ and DAPA.

“DAPA and DACA+ will be an issue in the 2016 elections. Every Republican or Democrat presidential candidate who opposes these policies will see the results in the voting booth,” Arias said


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