5 Things the President Must Do NOW to Help Immigrants

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Immigrants across the country should not have to  live in fear of detention or deportation.

As immigrant youth leaders from United We Dream await the final court decision on DAPA and expanded DACA programs, we also are actively organizing to demand that the Obama Administration make the following 5 changes in policy NOW while we fight to defend Deferred Action.

Although Republicans have stalled DAPA and expanded DACA, the president can still take to fix the out of control immigration enforcement system that continues to terrorize and tear communities apart.

1) Stop all deportations, stop all aggressive enforcement tactics against immigrant communities including raids, and hold the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) accountable for fair due process for all individuals.

On January 5, 2014, DHS released new priorities for immigration enforcement. The agency is wrongfully and immorally committed to apprehend and deport all of the people that fall under each priority and has taken extreme measures, such as raids, checkpoints, and community surveillance, to do so. This allows ICE field offices to ignore the rules and use numerous enforcement tactics to detain and deport people that their own memo says should not be deported including long time residents, veterans, business owners, grandparents, parents and people with severe health problems.

2) Shut down family detention centers and end detention of refugees.

Instead of treating refugees in a humane way, the Obama administration incarcerates individuals fleeing extreme violence and poverty , women, children, and long-time persecuted individuals. These groups are detained and face daily abuses in detention like a lack of proper medical care, overcrowding, and psychological abuse. UWD demands the shutdown of family detention centers and the end of detention of refugees .

3) End the jailing of transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer immigrants.

Thousands of LGBTQ immigrants arrive to the U.S. seeking a safe haven from the violence and discrimination in their home countries. But instead of finding safety, our immigration system delivers horrendous abuse. Although transgender immigrants are less than 1 percent of the detainee population, they make up 20 percent of document sexual assault cases in detention, LGBTQ immigrants are put into solitary confinement for being gay and abused much more than their peers. UWD demands the immediate end of detention for LGBTQ immigrants.

4) Stop entangling federal immigration enforcement with local police.

Last year, the administration acknowledged that their signature immigration enforcement program, “Secure Communities” was dangerous. Over 300 localities opted out of the program and a court found the administration’s practices to be unconstitutional. But instead of ending the practice, ICE doubled down and created the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) and continues to operate programs that entangle police with federal immigration agents and discourage immigrant communities from reporting crimes like domestic violence or abuse for fear of getting caught up with ICE. UWD demands the end of programs that entangle local law enforcement and immigration enforcement.

5) Hold immigration agencies accountable for civil rights violations.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are the two largest law enforcement agencies in the country but operate with little to no accountability for continuously violating the civil rights of immigrants. In the last 5 years, over 42 people have died at the hands of CBP officers and since 2001, over 100 have died while in ICE detention. Immigration agencies are not exempt from the larger national conversation around police accountability and must be reined in. UWD demands immediate accountability measures to hold DHS agencies accountable for their abuses.