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Today, at 3 PM EST at Lafayette Square, in front of the White House, immigrant advocates from Casa de Maryland and Familia Latina Unida will by joined by Rep. Luis Gutierrez and other allies to send our President an important message: STOP THE DEPORTATIONS.
Their list of demands from the Obama Administration include the following:
1. Immediate moratorium on the deportation of DREAMers and family members of US Citizens
2. End to failed ICE-access programs 287(g) and S-COMM
3. A repudiation of mandatory E-Verify bills currently moving through Congress.
Yesterday, Barack Obama spoke at the first NCLR conference since he made his famous promise to the Hispanic community as Candidate Obama in 2008. Now, three years later, absent of any kind of immigration reform, members of our immigrant community are still seeking some form of much-needed relief. Yesterday, he said:
Now, I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know very well the real pain and heartbreak that deportations cause. I share your concerns and I understand them. And I promise you, we are responding to your concerns and working every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way.
Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. (Applause.) And believe me, right now dealing with Congress –
AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!
THE PRESIDENT: Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. (Laughter.) I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. (Laughter.) But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works.
(To which someone in the audience relevantly shouted “change it!”)
But really, Mr. President? Not according to twenty-two senators who wrote you a letter earlier this year saying that you do in fact have the authority to grant administrative relief to undocumented students and other eligible undocumented populations. And then, soon after, the American Immigration Council came out with a legal memo saying that on immigration, your hands aren’t tied – you have the power to protect DREAMers.
By the end of this month, the Obama Administration will have deported 1 million undocumented immigrants. DHS and — as we recently found out — the FBI, are still plodding ahead with their plans to have the Secure Communities program implemented nationwide by 2013. It’s a stepping-stone to a more invasive program they’re implementing called “the Next Generation initiative.” On top of that, Republicans are introducing job-killing measures such as E-Verify and other tools, such as the HALT Act (check out our twitter page for the live-tweets on the hearing today, which is highly-anticipated political theater), to help them along with their mass deportation agenda.
And yet the President still says he needs “a dance partner,” and that Republicans are the ones to blame. Interesting because it seems Obama is doing a fine job dancing around the immigration issue. For the President, who seems to like dance analogies, think about this:
The overwhelming majority of the Hispanic community chose you in 2008 as their leader. Instead of waiting for the Republicans to start the waltz, how about taking the lead?