For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross-Posting // Available Online here

September 29, 2016

Contact: Armando Carmona,, (323) 250-3018


Families of Deportees & Detainees Call on Bill Clinton to Denounce His ‘96 Immigration Law, Join “Bring Jose Back” Petition

1996 federal immigration legislation (IIRIRA) is responsible for fusing mass incarceration and mass deportation systems

Organizations launch petition calling on former President to join petition


Los Angeles, CA — Today, immigrant rights organizations joined with racial justice groups on the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s signing into law IIRIRA (the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act”) to denounce the law’s destructive effect on immigrant communities and to call on those responsible for the law to address it.

The case of Jose Alvarez exemplifies the negative effects of IIRIRA. The father of six U.S. citizen children, including a former US Marine, was deported last February following a traffic stop for a broken headlight. Under IIRIRA, his twenty-year old non-violent conviction makes him permanently ineligible for admission to the United States.


“My father’s deportation has devastated my family. He was the main provider for my family, working as a gardener for years. I’ve since had to leave school and find work,” says Victor Alvarez, son of Jose Alvarez and former business student. “It’s time for our leaders to take responsibility and stand up for all families, no excuses. My father made a mistake more than two decades ago, he served his time and has since devoted his life to me and my siblings.”


“Without exaggeration, this is the most anti-immigrant federal law of our generation, and it’s going to take a real reckoning from our leaders to address the impact of this conflation of immigration and criminal law,” says Salvador G. Sarmiento, Legislative Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). “We hope that former President Bill Clinton will take an important step in acknowledging the need to end the legacy of IIRIRA. Today, we’re calling on him to join the petition to #BringJoseBack.”

Organizations have launched a petition with Presente.Org calling on former President Bill Clinton to join the effort to #BringJoseBack to his family and to denounce the effects of IIRIRA.

“IIRIRA has been mostly absent from debates around immigration reform; yet, there is no single law that better represents efforts to create a system that exploits immigrant workers and criminalizes their presence in the United States,” said Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON. “We cannot talk about immigration reform without addressing criminal justice reform. We cannot talk about immigrant justice without racial justice.”

IIRIRA, signed on September 30, 1996, expanded definitions of criminality, established provisions allowing local police to collaborate on immigration enforcement and reinforced barriers that made legalization more difficult. The legislation instituted mandatory detention for some non-citizens and eliminated judicial review in many cases, making it much easier for immigration enforcement to deport people.


In sum, the law fused together mass incarceration and mass deportation.


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