Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, responded to Secretary Napolitano’s speech today at American University with the following statement:
“We are happy to hear Secretary Napolitano mention S-Comm and ‘termination’ in the same sentence. Despite the political spin and marketing campaign to defend a failed program, S-Comm has proven to be a disastrous policy for our nation and for our communities. It should be ended before it leads to the further Arizonification of the country.
Facts do matter, and the fact remains that New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts have all rejected S-Comm while Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia embrace it wholeheartedly. The program has undermined public safety, imperiled civil rights, and moved the immigration debate in the wrong direction. Rather than bring us closer to immigration reform with legalization for millions of Americans-in-Waiting, S-Comm has been used to defend the false premise that the country needs enforcement quotas to maintain unprecedented rates of deportation. This insidious premise is resulting in the criminalization of an entire generation of our society.
Secretary Napolitano is correct that ‘two opposites cannot simultaneously be true.’ The Administration cannot set its sights on deporting more hardworking individuals than President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” and at the same time authentically claim it is advancing immigration reform. It cannot criminalize and legalize people at the same time. Deportation rates must decline, S-Comm must be ended, and in places like Maricopa County in Arizona, human rights must be vigorously defended and prioritized by the Administration.
We acknowledge the Administration inherited broken immigration laws and a poisonous political environment, but S-Comm has made matters worse. We will continue to work with a growing chorus of voices calling for its complete termination.”
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“Despite soaring rhetoric, the President’s unbridled enforcement of unjust and outdated immigration laws has contributed to an unprecedented civil rights crisis for our community.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 Se 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.” …
(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 Se Communities as a first step.*”
Pablo Alvarado is available for media inquiries.
NDLON staff is also available for interviews on Se 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