Speaker Boehner and his caucus are still under pressure to push immigration reform legislation through the House this year, with commentators pointing out that 2014 represents a prime opportunity for them while Chuck Schumer and other Democrats consider using a discharge petition.
But on the other side of Washington, President Obama is also continuing to face heat over his record number of deportations, which is on track to hit 2 million next month. Last week, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network filed a rulemaking petition asking him to end deportations. Today, the American Federation of Teachers released a resolution calling for a moratorium on deportations — and for Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Read the full resolution here or below:
CALL FOR A MORATORIUM ON THE DEPORTATION CRISIS AND FOR A ROAD MAP TO CITIZENSHIP FOR ASPIRING AMERICANS
WHEREAS, every day, millions of undocumented people of all ages who aspire to be citizens of our great nation—who already contribute to our communities, schools and economy, and who proudly serve our country—are denied a voice in the workplace and essential rights in our society for no other reason than their lack of documentation, despite their desire to be citizens; and
WHEREAS, during this administration, we have seen an unprecedented number of deportations—more than 1,200 people per day—which is expected to reach 2 million in 2014, more than any other administration in U.S. history; and
WHEREAS, the human impact of these deportations is incalculable—they tear families apart and disrupt communities and workplaces throughout the country; and
WHEREAS, these enforcement-only measures have done nothing to contribute to the security of our nation. They are dangerous, costly and misguided solutions to a broken immigration system that undermines and threatens the fundamental ideals on which this country was founded; and
WHEREAS, enforcement-only laws like H.B. 56 in Alabama have tried to deny children access to public education, make our schools unwelcoming places, and make our members “snitches” instead of caregivers. These laws generate fear, institutionalize racial profiling and encourage discrimination, serving as ineffective and counterproductive law enforcement tactics. It discourages communities from working with law enforcement agents to report, solve and prevent serious crime; and
WHEREAS, at the same time, private prison companies like Geo Group Inc. and Corrections Corporation of America—both members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—continue to profit on the backs of our immigrant brothers and sisters. In 2012 and 2013, they each made $1.7 billion in profits from operation of the detention centers that house deportees; and
WHEREAS, 5.5 million children who are U.S. citizens live in households with at least one undocumented parent, and these children live with the fear that their parents could be deported; and
WHEREAS, there’s evidence that home raids cause traumatic and psychological suffering for children and families. Psychologists have documented signs of depression, anxiety and even posttraumatic stress in children who witness ICE agents arresting and taking their parents in the middle of the night; and
WHEREAS, millions of children born in the United States are denied their birthright to grow up in a country where they receive a quality public education and have access to nutrition and quality care; instead, they are held in deportation detention centers with their parents and sometimes get deported with them; and
WHEREAS, the humanitarian crisis of record deportations and family separations is unacceptable; these acts are contrary to the principles of a vibrant democratic society; and
WHEREAS, the ultimate solution to this crisis is a change in law; and
WHEREAS, relief from the deportation crisis would make it easier to secure fair, humane and commonsense immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship; and
WHEREAS, contrary to conservative pundits, granting relief and easing the deportation crisis is within the powers of the executive office. The president exercised his executive authority in June 2012 with the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which received broad support from the public and has proven to be of great benefit to our nation; and
WHEREAS, the president has broad authority to grant administrative relief and reduce the number of deportations:
RESOLVED, that the AFT will call for a moratorium on all low-priority deportations and demand that President Obama exercise his executive powers and end the tragic separation of families; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT will reaffirm its commitment and work with its community partners, the AFL-CIO and other allies for the dignity, respect, rights and education of all immigrant workers and their families in the United States; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue the struggle until Congress passes compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform with a realistic pathway to citizenship.