New Details About Deportation Policy Raise Need For Immediate Action

For Immediate Release: April 7, 2014Contact: Donna De La Cruz,; (202) 339-9331

New York Times Analysis Shows Two-thirds of Those Deported Had No Serious Criminal Record; Puts White House Claims in Doubt

(WASHINGTON)—In the wake of a New York Times article today that shows that two-thirds of people deported had no criminal record or had minor infractions such as traffic violations, President Obama has no more excuses: he can continue the suffering and needless separation of families or he can do the right thing and use his authority to keep families together.  These new facts also debunk the completely disingenuous House GOP excuse for inaction: enforcement is at record levels with tragic results.

“The fact that the majority of people being deported have no criminal record or have minor traffic violations are being deported along with serious criminal offenders is unconscionable and has ripped millions of families apart in this country for years,” said Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, who was quoted in the Times’ article.

“President Obama has said he is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform but at this rate his administration will be remembered for its record number of deportations, soon to reach the two million mark,” Bhargava said. “He must use his executive power to stop these senseless deportations and work to find ways to allow law-abiding undocumented immigrants to remain in this country where they can strive to become American citizens. And Congress must act as well to fix our current broken immigration system.”

Through the Center’s work as part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the nation’s largest coalition of immigrant rights groups, we have heard countless stories of families being ripped apart, too often told by children who feel the lasting impacts of having a parent taken away.

Nine-year-old Liz Marquez of Illinois issued a plea to President Obama and Republican members of Congress recently asking him not to allow her father, who has a deportation order, to be taken away from her family.

“My dad has a deportation order and I worry every night that they will try to separate him from us,” Liz said. “This would affect me a lot because my dad and mom take very good care of us, and work very hard so that I can have the food, clothes and a home to live in. My parents are not criminals and it’s not right they are treated like ones.”

Liz has repeatedly reminded lawmakers that her parents came to the United States out of love for their families. Over the weekend, potential GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush said that yes, people broke the law entering the United States illegally. But he added that “it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.

FIRM has repeatedly urged President Obama and Members of Congress to remember that there is a human toll for not fixing our broken immigration system.

“The Center has been proud to stand with FIRM in its continued campaign to ‘Keep Families Together,’” Bhargava said. “We will never waiver from our commitment to our families.”