Day laborers, immigrant community start rolling fast as deportations continue at 1,100+ each day
05.01.2013 – Mountain View, CA
Maria Marroquin, director of the Mountain View Day Worker Center, and several others plan to abstain
from eating for the next eleven days, one day for each millions of undocumented people in the US
seeking political equality through immigration reform.
Introduction Poses Test for President
Los Angeles, CA - 04.17.2013
In response to the introduction of the Senate 'Gang of 8' immigration reform bill, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statement:
"President Obama should seize the opportunity presented today by immediately suspending deportations, at a bare minimum for all those who would be included in the bill's legalization provisions. While it is necessary to study the bill before passing judgment on its contents, one thing remains clear: the President's own deportation quota policy is the biggest roadblock on the path to citizenship. He must take steps immediately to end the removal and criminalization of would-be citizens.
Millions of immigrants have walked a long road to get to this point, and the power we have all built as a movement has forced immigration reform onto the national agenda and created a mandate for equality. As the bill moves forward, we will continue to fight to make sure our labor and civil rights are fully respected."
(Los Angeles) Today, advocates in California made public hundreds of emails between federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and California officials regarding the “activation” of California’s cities and counties in ICE’s controversial “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) program, which ensnares local police in federal immigration enforcement efforts. The documents were obtained by the National Day Laborer Organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Cardozo Immigrant Justice Clinic through Freedom of Information Act litigation.
The emails reveal a federal agency in state of disarray, and a chorus of questions and complaints from California cities and counties wary of thrusting their police into the role of immigration enforcers.
“The domino effect is starting,” wrote an unidentified ICE official on May 25, 2010.(1) Questions about S-Comm were rolling in after strong opposition from San Francisco and Santa Clara County. Marin County’s Juvenile Probation Office was “quite agitated about [S-Comm] being ‘forced’ on them.”(2) San Mateo and Riverside County were requesting clarification on how they could opt-out of the program.(3) Sonoma County representatives were “upset” about receiving misleading information from ICE.(4) The ICE official frantically sought “messaging that can help . . . keep them on board.”(5)
“The ‘messaging’ ICE settled on, the emails show, centered on deliberately misleading California officials – from county sheriffs to Congressional representatives – about S-Comm’s voluntary nature, and about what ‘opting out’ of the program entailed,” explains Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Information provided to Santa Clara County in May 2010 was approved over the phone, rather than in writing, to “give them plausible deniability if this Santa Clara thing goes south.”(6) Top-level ICE officers provided vastly different definitions of opt out to concerned California officials, some of which were purposely crafted to be misleading.(7) An FBI employee observing the process noted, “It amazes me that we are all in the same room and he thinks this [opt out messaging] is consistent.”(8)
Confusion about S-Comm went beyond the feasibility of opting out. “The emails also reveal confusion about the legal authority for the program and its true focus” says Angela Chan, Staff Attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. Despite concerns raised by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown as early as September 2010 about whether S-Comm was picking up minor offenders and traffic violators, ICE publicly insisted that S-comm focused on deporting convicted criminals.(9)
ICE officials also scrambled to identify legal authority for the program. In early presentations to the California Department of Justice, they apparently relied on a section of Proposition 187 that had been struck down by California Courts as unconstitutional.(10) In fact, later emails clarify, “There is no legislation that makes [Secure Communities] mandatory."(11)
The Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act (“TRUST ACT”), currently scheduled to be heard in the public safety committee of the California Assembly on April 26th, aims to fix the ways that S-Comm’s misleading focus, over-broad reach and lack of transparency have eroded trust between police and immigrant communities and sparked considerable open government concerns. The TRUST Act would honor the right of local governments to opt out of the troubled S-Comm program. The Act also sets basic safeguards for those that do participate in the program to protect against racial profiling, protect the rights of children and domestic violence survivors, and upholds the right to a day in court by only reporting for deportation individuals convicted, not merely accused, of crimes.
Documents Can Be Found at http://bit.ly/scomm-foia-ca
1. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0003246.
3. Id.; ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007167.
4. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0003815.
5. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0003246.
6. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007174.
7. Compare 10-2674.0007229 (S-Comm Director David Venturella’s deliberately misleading definition of opt out for San Francisco Sheriff Hennessey) with 10-2674.0005151 (S-Comm Deputy Director Marc Rapp’s contrary definition of opt out, given to Congressional representatives the same week).
8. FBI SC 1726.
9. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007228; 10-2674.0006127-6128.
10. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0007308.
11. ICE FOIA 10-2674.0005568. ...
Today, the President held a White House meeting on Immigration Reform In response, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said,
"While we appreciate the President's effort to keep immigration reform on the national agenda, his actions belie his intent. We're greatly disappointed that the meeting didn't include more voices of immigrants at the table, including representatives of directly affected communities especially the people in the state of Arizona and Georgia where there is a modern day human rights crisis. If the President genuinely wanted to fix the broken immigration system, he would respond to the growing chorus of voices calling for the suspension of the secure communities program and move to legalize instead of further criminalize our immigrant communities."...
(Los Angeles) Following President's speech on immigration, Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network made the following statement:
"Immigration reform has been on the national agenda for ten years, and we are mindful the politics have never been more poisonous. However, we hope the President will use his political capital and his persuasive powers to help steer the debate back to a more productive course. After all, the loud voices who favor punishing this generation's Americans-in-Waiting are the very same people who suspected the President himself was an undocumented immigrant. It's time to move beyond the Arizonification of American politics. The nation's first African American president has a unique opportunity to take racism out of the political discourse on immigration.
Like Congressman Luis Gutierrez though, we all want to feel the same sense of hope and optimism we felt in 2008. However, words alone will no longer be enough. The President must earn Latinos' support through actions that move the country toward a policy granting us political equality, through the regularization of our immigrant families' status. The goal contained in Arizona's SB1070, the criminalization of immigrants, is mutually exclusive with the goal of legalization. While Republicans have coelesced on a nativist position that will be shamed by history, it is not sufficient for the President to simply blame Congress for inaction. The President must lead by example, and we will measure his commitment to immigration reform by taking stock of his actions.If the President seriously wants to move the debate forward, he can start by answering the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's call to freeze the misguided Secure Communities as a first step.*"
Pablo Alvarado is available for media inquiries.
NDLON staff is also available for interviews on Secure Communities FOIA litigation, Arizona work, and to provide reporters access to day laborers so their voices can be included.
* In a letter sent Thursday, May 5th, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on the President to place a moratorium on SCOMM saying, "[it] will contribute to the criminalization of immigrant families by casting them under a cloud of suspicion and by further conflating civil immigration violations with criminal conduct."
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network represents 43 member organizations and more than 120,000 corner day laborers throughout the country. The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org
In response to President Obama's speech today at the annual convention of the National Council de la Raza, Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued this statement:
"Despite soaring rhetoric, the President's unbridled enforcement of unjust and outdated immigration laws has contributed to an unprecedented civil rights crisis for our community. And his administration has deported over one million people, surpassing the total number of people removed during Operation Wetback. The President can now claim the title, deporter-in-chief.
We know ICE has gone rogue, but we're starting to feel like the President is going rogue on immigration too. It is not enough for him to blame Congress or to bemoan the difficulty of his job. He can- and must- take action to protect members of our community who are under siege.
The President can use existing authority to move the country in the right direction. He should take swift action to prevent the Arizonification of the country by refusing to let local police act as agents of deportation. For example, the President should, as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has requested, immediately suspend the Secure Communities program until the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General can complete her report. At this rate, President Obama's S-Comm policy will go down in history with Eisenhower's 'Operation Wetback.' Both have the same pernicious consequences, but one has a better speech writer." ...