Diverse Advocacy Groups to Obama: Stop the Deportation Raids, Enact Temporary Protections
A coalition of immigrant, social justice and faith groups have joined the call against President Barack Obama and his administration's deportation raids.
Late Tuesday morning, groups delivered a petition addressed for Obama to halt further deportation raids and provide relief to Central American refugee families. According to a statement sent to Latin Post, the White House received a petition including more than 130,000 signatures and a letter on behalf of over 75 diverse organizations, including the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Presente.org, America's Voice and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
The groups echoed a call similar to fellow advocacy groups and figures calling for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorians currently in the U.S.
An excerpt of the letter read as follows:
"Reports indicate widespread problems with due process for many of those in immigration proceedings: a large number of individuals with deportation orders never received notification to appear in court, and never had a chance at a fair hearing. This is largely due to the accelerated and aggressive deportation processes put in place recently by your administration. Others had no legal representation on, fending for themselves in a system that is very complicated. President Obama, we have a moral obligation on to provide aide to people seeing violence and these people have a right to make their case. Your administration on must stand up for the rights and the dignity of people seeking refuge in the U.S."
The groups added that the deportation raids are inhumane and unacceptable, and there is no way to undo the trauma immigrant families endured during the raids. SEARAC executive director Quyen Dinh said the administration's raids target asylum-seeking children and families, and law enforcement are making a terrible mistake that only creates fear across all communities.
As Latin Post reported, the raids started during the weekend following New Years Day. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed at least 121 immigrants were apprehended. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said additional raids may occur under his discretion.
"The Obama administration has sunk to a new low with these raids. We already know that the Republican presidential candidates, led by Donald Trump, are committed to harsh anti-immigrant policies. But with President Obama initiating these raids, it's less clear what the Democratic Party's position is on immigration," said Presente.org Managing Director Matt Nelson. "This isn't who we are as a country, and President Obama still has time to do the right thing and stop these raids and subsequent deportations now."
"We cannot and we will not remain silent when our families are living in fear of being separated and sent back to face possible harm, including death," said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. "The government must work to ensure that anyone in the country seeking protection is afforded safety, not deportation. Until then, our nationwide movement and its supporters will fight hard to stop these deportations from taking place."
Matos added that Obama, Johnson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana betrayed Latino and immigrant communities, and the deportation raids will be one that will mark the president's and his administration's legacy.
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