Obama’s immigration action protects some, yet promotes deeply flawed policies
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is gratified by the parts of President Obama’s executive order announced today which offer welcome relief to immigrants who have suffered too long under cruel immigration enforcement practices. Yet AFSC is dismayed that the action does not account for millions of others needing relief, and keeps an emphasis on increasing border security – thus ensuring more violations of civil and human rights.
“We are deeply disappointed that President Obama’s executive action will boost so-called ‘border security.’ Granting deferred action for many parents of U.S.-born children will shield those families from the fear of inhumane detention and deportation. But millions of undocumented immigrants were left out. They will continue living in fear of being detained and deported,” said Pedro Rios of the AFSC’s US-Mexico Border Program in San Diego, CA.
“Temporary legal protection and work authorization for some must not come at the expense of border communities and of recently arrived immigrants, who will certainly suffer under a border enforcement surge,” said Pedro Rios
Since its beginnings almost 100 years ago, AFSC has provided support for immigrant and refugee communities. Today, AFSC provides legal services, helps immigrant communities advocate for themselves across the U.S. and in Washington DC. Among those we work with is Arturo Hernandez of Denver, a husband, father of two and a business owner, who is trying to stop his own deportation and keep his family together.
“I was welcomed in this country for my labor, but not valued for my full humanity. ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) is trying to paint immigrants as threats, but we are actually contributing members of society. They want to deport me, and if they do so it is because I don’t have papers, not because I’m a threat or I’m not contributing to society,” he said.
Earlier this week, AFSC wrote President Obama urging him to adopt executive action that reflects humane values and moral principles that promote human, labor, and civil rights for everyone, preserve family units, and improve our communities.
The following humane policies, if adopted, will restore integrity in our immigration system:
• De-militarize the border and prioritize measures that will ensure accountability, oversight, and transparency of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
• Allow all undocumented immigrants to remain with their loved ones in the United States;
• Provide work authorization and access to health care to undocumented immigrants;
• End immigration detention, including closure of all family detention centers;
• End deportations.
AFSC has created A New Path, a set of humane immigration policies developed in close consultation with communities directly impacted by immigration systems.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.