For Immediate Release
April 29, 2016
Contact: Armando Carmona, firstname.lastname@example.org, (323) 250-3018
NDLON: The Most Anti-Immigrant Bill Signed into Law in Our Lifetime
Los Angeles, CA—In response to the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs and Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chairwoman introducing a resolution calling for a repeal of the 1996 laws criminalizing immigrants, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), released the following statement:
“We welcome the leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Asian Pacific American Caucus in calling for a repeal of the IIRIRA, twenty years since its passage, and demanding answers from both Democratic candidates about their support for it in 1996. That would be a start. And there is much more that can be done – outside of the dysfunctional Congress – to mitigate the disastrous effects of ’96.
“Perhaps the most anti-immigrant law signed into law in our lifetime, no single law better represents efforts to consolidate a regime that exploits immigrant workers and criminalizes our presence in the U.S. Enacted the same year that then Senior Advisor to President Clinton, Rahm Emmanuel, recommended a record deportations, the law demonstrates the deep-seeded racism at the root of parties’ failed approach to immigration. The law fused mass incarceration and mass deportation, establishing the strategy of conflating immigration and criminal law, which twenty years later, President Obama’s “felons not families” rhetoric has put on steroids. The law made far more people deportable, including legal residents, and created the barriers to legalization that are partially responsible for the number of undocumented people in the U.S. today.
“Going forward, any statutory reform will require repeal of much of IIRIRA, including the repugnant section 287(g) of the INA, which authorized ICE to deputize the likes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It’s no surprise that today one-third of 287(g) agreements are in three states—North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona—all of which have enacted openly anti-immigrant legislation. Democratic leadership, both federal and local, should take responsibility for the laws that made possible Arizona’s SB 1070 and led to record deportations in Maricopa County in Arizona, and Harris County in Texas.
“But we won’t hold our breath. Instead of ending its complicity with states legislating hate, the White House and DHS leadership are preparing to re-affirm support for these and nearly two dozen others before the agreements end on June 30th. As always, we know that if we are going to mitigate the consequences of IIRIRA, we’ll have to do it from the bottom-up. And communities across the country are demanding ICE out of local jails from Santa Ana, California to Raleigh, North Carolina. At this point, no one can afford to wait on Washington DC to fix ’96, but we shall see if Democratic leadership remains an obstacle or becomes an ally in shutting off it’s most heinous elements.”