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NDLON's New Rulemaking Petition Seeks to End the Deportations

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296deportFront page at the Washington Post today is a David Nakamura story about immigration reform, a call for the end of deportations, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network’s “Not 1 More” campaign.  View the full story here.

It’s up to Congress — and House Republicans — to pass immigration reform this year that creates an attainable path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living here.  But it’s also up to President Obama to actually enact prosecutorial discretion for immigrants who would qualify for legalization and citizenship once legislation is passed.  Obama is coming up on his 2 millionth deportation and will have deported far more people than any other president, ever, by the time he leaves office.  Without executive reforms, these millions of broken families will be part of his legacy.

Which is why NDLON is filing a petition for a new rule with the Department of Homeland Security, asking them to de-prioritize deportations for those who haven’t done anything wrong.  As the Washington Post notes:

In a 41-page rulemaking petition to be filed Tuesday with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network says that “it is sound policy and consistent with the President’s authority to make a categorical determination to prioritize resources away from the estimated 8 million” people who would qualify for legal status, and possibly citizenship, under a plan approved by the Senate last summer.

AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka said in an interview last week that the White House would actually improve its bargaining position with House Republicans if Obama unilaterally suspended deportations. Millions of undocumented immigrants would be allowed to join the public debate, Trumka said, putting more pressure on a party struggling to broaden its appeal with Latinos and Asian Americans.

“If I were president, I would have said the following: ‘It’s a broken system. Except for violent criminals, no more deportations until you help me fix a broken system,’ ” Trumka said.

Jessica Karp, an attorney for NDLON, said the DHS petition is intended to provide more legal arguments in favor of stopping the deportations:

The president’s stated policy since taking office is ‘enforcement on steroids’ in order to gain credibility and give him leverage on negotiations over immigration reform.  That strategy is a failure. It’s failed politically and caused untold suffering in the immigrant community. It’s time for a new strategy.