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An Important Step Towards Bringing Enforcement Practices In Line with Stated Priorities

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Frank Sharry Reacts to Today’s Obama Administration Announcement about Changes in Deportation Policy

Below is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, on today’s announcement from the Obama Administration about bringing deportation practices in line with enforcement priorities:

“Today the Obama Administration responded to the call for administrative action with significant changes that, if implemented fully and fairly, will focus immigration enforcement on the worst of the worst, not the best and the brightest.  This new policy could well mean a giant step towards bringing the Administration’s immigration enforcement practices in line with its stated priorities.  This new approach is firmly grounded in principles of smart law enforcement, putting the deportation of dangerous felons ahead of young people eligible for the DREAM Act and other immigrants who have been in the country for years, raising families and building up significant equities.   

“We are skeptical about the ability of ICE and CBP to make this policy the new normal, given the way these agencies have operated for years.  But this announcement establishes a new level of accountability and clarity that should lead to safety and stability for thousands of American families whose lives currently are being turned upside down by deportation.   

“There are many questions about this initiative that need to be answered, and we, along with others, will monitor its implementation very closely.  In addition, other reforms are sorely needed. The Secure Communities program remains fundamentally flawed and needs dramatic reforms to reverse the damage done to community policing; if not, the program should be terminated.  Other administrative measures should also be taken.  For example, spouses of U.S. citizens who are eligible for green cards and waivers of undocumented presence should be able to apply for those waivers in the U.S. – without having to risk their families and their lives to do so. 

“But today the Obama Administration did a good thing and we applaud them for doing so.  What’s next is predictable.  Republicans in Congress, like Rep. Lamar Smith, Senator David Vitter and Senator John Cornyn, will blast this initiative from the outset.  They will pander to their base and deepen their brand as an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino party committed to the mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants, including valedictorians, future soldiers and hard working parents.  We challenge them to state exactly why it is in the nation’s interest and in line with the principles and practices of effective law enforcement to expel 11 million people who are deeply rooted in American communities and call this country their home.” 

America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.