Chris Newman, General Counsel for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued the following statement:
“The reason immigration reform is on the national agenda is because of undocumented immigrants and the courage they have shown in fighting, against the odds, to make ours a more just society. It is time for lawmakers in the beltway to approximate that courage by standing up for those who are fighting immoral deportation.
During the next hearing, the Senators should ask questions that reflect the real concerns of people suffering the consequences of today’s unjust laws. While nativist Republicans will do whatever they can to move the immigration bill inexorably to the right in an effort to break consensus, Democrats must take a stand to maintain a rational conversation that results in legalization and political equality. They can start by asking real questions of Secretary Napolitano about her role in the broken status quo.”
Below are a handful of questions the National Day Laborer Organizing Network believes should be answered to move the immigration debate forward:
1. It is widely reported that the Obama administration has deported unprecedented numbers of immigrants, and it is widely suspected that the Department of Homeland Security is operating under a self-imposed a deportation quota.
Is there a deportation quota? If so, where does it come from, and will it be reduced or eliminated as part of the President’s proposal on immigration reform?
2. During the Supreme Court argument about Arizona’s SB 1070, Arizona’s counsel said this: “The Federal Government doesn’t like this statute [Sec 2b of Sb1070], but they are very proud of their Se Communities program. And their Se Communities program also makes clear that everybody’s that’s booked at participating facilities is — eventually has their immigration status checked.” He said Arizona, “borrowed the federal standard as its own.”
What is the difference between the Obama Administration’s Se Communities program and the infamous racial profiling provision Section 2b of Arizona SB 1070?
3. In the first four years of the Obama Presidency, the Se Communities deportation program grew from an obs 1% of the country to forcibly being activated in 97% of the US by the end of 2012. In that time, a mountain of evidence has surfaced showing that the program was misrepresented. It cast an indiscriminate dragnet and was implemented in ways that erode public trust in law enforcement. Over the last four years, a series of reforms have been announced to mitigate its damage.
Can we expect further reforms of the Se Communities program? If so, when?
4. During the last four years, several employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) openly defied the President’s policy of prioritized enforcement. Moreover, the agency’s implementation of administrative reforms has been scattered at best.
Is ICE a rogue agency? What consequences does the White House have in place for ICE agents who lie to the American public or do not follow your administration’s priorities (like those who raided the home of dreamer Erika Andiola in Arizona)? What percentage of DHS budget is used to ensure compliance with civil rights and protection from racial profiling performed by agents or law enforcement partners?
5. To most people, it is clear Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona is using immigration as pretext to violate bedrock civil rights. In other places like Alamance County, Cobb County, and Gwinnet County, similar patterns of rights violations have occurred. To many observers, it looks like the Department of Justice is forced to put out fires started by the Department of Homeland Security.
Are the DOJ and DHS working at cross purposes? Under immigration reform, will the administration continue to enlist law enforcers under investigation, such as Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County, as force multipliers in immigration enforcement? What will be done to strengthen the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Homeland Security?