Does It Take a Manufactured Crisis to Reunite Families and Shed Light on Reckless Enforcement and Never-Ending Cycle of Deportation?
United We Dream Reacts to ICE Release of Detainees in Advance of “Sequestration”
Washington, D.C. – In anticipation of the looming federal budget cuts through so-called sequestration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has directed its field offices to “review” who they are detaining, leading to reports of widespread releases of low-priority detainees—men and women who have not committed any serious crime.
Although the Obama administration has repeatedly emphasized that it will focus its enforcement efforts on serious criminals, the release of these low-priority individuals exposes the wide gap between those statements and the administration’s practice of filling an arbitrary quota of 400,000 deportations per year. United We Dream, the largest immigrant-youth led network in the country, stands against this inhumane system of unnecessary incarceration which continues to tear our families apart and continues to push for a path to citizenship for all 11 million Americans without papers and an end to the artificial deportation quota.
Carolina Canizales, Coordinator of United We Dream’s End our Pain Program said:
“Every day I get calls from families being torn apart with a loved one about to be deported. The reports that ICE field offices are releasing some men and women in detention just sheds a light on the aggressive, reckless enforcement system that’s been ramping up for years.
Low-priority individuals—people who pose absolutely no risk or danger to society, but rather are upstanding members of their communities and families—should not have been locked up to begin with. These men and women and the families I work with every day still face the threat of deportation and are not truly free. As some people are being released, others are being detained—a never-ending cycle. UWD will keep fighting to make sure not one more family is torn apart.
It shouldn’t take a manufactured crisis in Washington to prompt our immigration agencies to actually take steps towards using government resources wisely or keeping families together. Our communities have experienced so much pain already. Now is the moment for real immigration reform that puts all of us on the path to citizenship and ends these inhumane practices. If one dream is at risk, all our dreams continue to be at risk.
With no clear process in place from DHS or ICE, it’s uncertain who’s being released and who’s still being held in detention, despite low-priority status. We need a system that makes sure everyone who’s contributing to our country is treated fairly and we need Congress to pass immigration reform that stops dividing families and creates a roadmap to citizenship.”
United We Dream has spent more than two months working to end the detention of 40 low-priority individuals in the Delayne Hall detention facility in New Jersey. Facilities like this, designed solely to detain low-priority individuals, shouldn’t even exist: anyone who’s being detained or in deportation proceedings due to a minor infraction simply shouldn’t be behind bars.
United We Dream released its 20-point plan for immigration reform earlier this month, including principles to end the artificial 400,000 deportations per year quota and introduce more oversight and accountability into our immigration enforcement system. See UWD’s principles here: http://www.unitedwedream.org/principles.