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immigration raid

Immigrant Families Rebuke Jeb Bush: Call for Path to Citizenship

Contact:

For English language Media: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)

For Spanish language Media: Ricardo Ramirez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 905-1738

Immigrant Families Rebuke Jeb Bush: Call for Path to Citizenship

Bush’s Flip-flop on Citizenship Puts Politics Before People

(WASHINGTON)—Immigrant families fueling a national bus tour with their stories of hardship dealing with the current broken immigration system rebuked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for flip-flopping on his support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as he looks down the road to the 2016 election.

“He’s putting politics over people, the same people he has supported for all these years,” said Janet Alvarez Magallanes, who was part of the California leg of the bus tour. “I am American, my children were born here but my husband could be deported any day. For me and for my kids, we’ll be very devastated if he gets taken away.”

In an interview Monday on the “Today” show, Bush said that he does not think that most Latinos wanted to become citizens. But public opinion surveys indicate that Latino immigrants do want to naturalize. The Pew Hispanic Center recently released a study that shows that “more than nine-in-ten (93 percent) who have not yet naturalized say they would if they could.”

“Jeb Bush has decided that rather than forge a new path for the Republican Party and be a leader on immigration reform, he will kowtow to conservatives and embrace their brand of exclusionary politics,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of immigrant rights organizations putting on the bus tour. “If he thinks taking this severe right turn in his thinking on immigration reform will win him the Latino vote, he is sorely, sorely mistaken.”

“We renew our call for the Senate to meet the March 21 deadline to introduce a bill. The voices of families on this national tour will be heard by all lawmakers and we will not accept a system which creates a permanent underclass of people who have no pathway to citizenship and full equality.  The very notion is un-American,” Matos added.

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Who is in charge at Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

Much has been said about the lip-service that immigration reform has been given from the Obama administration and members of Congress. The continued pledges of support don’t mean anything in the face of increased deportations. The administration and the Department of Homeland Security have stated various times that deportation and enforcement practices are being aimed only at undocumented immigrants with a criminal record.

However, on March 18th:

John Morton, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, stated that his agency would be ramping up enforcement efforts against undocumented immigrants with no criminal records. Morton’s statement was in response to pressure from Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Hal Rogers, (R-KY).

Also, on March 10th, while grassroots leaders were meeting with President Obama at the White House and hearing (yet again) his pledge of support for the cause, there was a workplace raid in Annapolis, MD where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained 29 workers.

Talk about hypocrisy.

Then, Saturday, a story dropped in the Washington Post exposing that ICE  has issued quotas as incentives to round up and deport even more undocumented immigration without criminal records.

From Immigration Impact:

The memo stated that ICE had set a quota of 400,000 deportations for the year without regard to whether those individuals were criminals or not, and laid out strategies for doing so. In other words, it’s not about keeping us safe, it’s about achieving big numbers.

So, while families continue to suffer and communities are destroyed, ICE is trying to make themselves look good with the ‘enforcement-only, deport ’em all’ crowd.

Excuse me, but where are you Mr. Obama?

Yesterday the Reform Immigration For America campaign released a statement calling for accountability.

This is directly at odds with statements from the President and Secretary Napolitano whose purported enforcement and security goals are to focus deportation efforts on dangerous or violent criminals.  To explain the contradiction, an agency spokesman indicated that Chaparro’s memo was “inconsistent” with the administration’s point of view and inconsistent with Secretary Napolitano.  Adding to the disorder, Chapparro later issued a ‘clarifying’ memo that neither rescinded nor abandoned the controversial and ‘inconsistent’ quota system he enumerated in his memo to field.

Which is it?  Is there a quota system or not? Who is actually in charge at ICE? Whose word is to be believed?

Today, grassroots groups are gathering for a press conference to call out the administration on these inconsistencies and seeming lack of leadership.

Until we have comprehensive immigration reform, ICE is going to be saddled with an enormous list of targets, and many people watching to see how they’re going to tackle it. If they want big numbers, they can achieve big numbers. But that won’t make us any safer or make the system any better. In any case the Administration and ICE have to figure out what their enforcement strategy is, articulate it clearly and consistently, and resist the urge to change it on a dime to please “enforcement-only” types who will never support comprehensive reform. (via Immigration Impact)

In short: get it together, guys. Stop playing politics with people’s lives and start working to solve problems. After all, isn’t that what you were put in office to do?

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VIDEO: In the Shadow of the Raid


“In the Shadow of the Raid” is a documentary film that explores the devastating effects of the May 2008 immigration raid at the kosher meatpacking plant Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. If you’re a follower of this blog, you know that Guatemala is very close to my heart and watching the footage in the trailer below is all-too familiar for me.

The documentary, which I definitely want to see, will be premiering at the Morelia International Film Festival, in Mexico between Oct. 3 and Oct. 11. This is the type of film that can change hearts and minds about the issue of immigration. Most people in this country view the issue as purely domestic – they can only see our side of the border. I cannot stress enough how important the international perspective is in this debate.

One of the biggest lessons I learned during my time in Guatemala was that decisions we make here, policy we put into action and priorities we create for our country, are felt in a very real and direct way in countries like Guatemala. We are not separate, but interconnected. And the sooner we realize this and take responsibility for our part in this global community, the better.

For more on the documentary, visit IntheShadowoftheRaid.com

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