Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dec. 12: Nat'l Day of Action to Stop Deportations and Deferred Action for All -- Call initiated by United Front for Justice and Dignity

1) Dec. 12 -- National Day of Action to Stop Deportations and Deferred Action for All -- Call initiated by United Front for Justice and Dignity
2) Stop the Deportations, Deferred Action For All Undocumented Immigrants! -- Excerpts from Statement by United Front for Justice and Dignity following national AFL-CIO Convention
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Immigration reform legislation has definitively stalled in Congress as both political parties jockey in favor of their respective positions and point fingers of blame at each other. The needs and desires of immigrant families take second place to the electoral political agendas of Washington, D.C. belt-way lobbyists and corporations. However, deportations and separation of families continue at break-neck speed and at historic highs. Approximately 1,200 deportations occur every day and the threshold of 2 million removals under President Barack Obama will be reached any day now.

Our families require and deserve immediate relief. Our families have worked tirelessly for fair and humane immigration reform and have been extremely patient and understanding of the political process.

Is it not true that since 2001 our communities have marched, protested, lobbied, sent letters and petitions, voted in repeated elections, fasted, participated in acts of civil disobedience and been arrested, telephoned and visited our federal and state legislators, been active on internet social networks, filmed, YouTubed, and done everything within the great historic traditions of social movements in this country seeking the kind of change our families need?

Is it not true that immigrants, their families, friends and allies marched in the millions never before witnessed in the U.S. during 2006 and 2007 and repeatedly amassed at the national mall in Washington, D.C. demanding fair immigration reform? And now we are told that it won't happen in 2013, unlikely in 2014 due to the elections, and maybe in 2015. How much longer must we wait? If not now, when?
Join thousands of organizations throughout the nation in a December 12th National Day of Action to demand that President Obama STOP DEPORTATIONS AND SEPARATION OF FAMILIES AND DEFERRED ACTON FOR ALL the eligible undocumented members of our families.

December 12th is a day of Veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is considered the patroness and protector of the indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. We raise this banner demanding protection in public actions which your organization or coalition sees fit, according to your capacity and inclination -- a press conference, rally, vigil, non-violent civil disobedience, forum, picket in front of ICE facility, pilgrimage with the local church parish, or however you wish to express the urgency to stop the bleeding of our families and communities.

Let President Obama hear the millions of voices of our families united and living the change we want to see.

-- Call Initiated by the United Front for Justice and Dignity, Alliance for the Rights of Immigrants, Hermandad Mexicana, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Mexican American Political Association, Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement / LCLAA (AFL-CIO), Labor Fightback Network, El Organizador (in collaboration with immigrant rights organizations and coalitions across California, Washington state and Illinois, and across the country; list in formation)

[Please distribute widely. To co-sponsor this call, please contact Nativo López at <> and/or Sacramento LCLAA at <>.]

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2) Stop the Deportations, Deferred Action
For All Undocumented Immigrants!

(excerpts from Statement by United Front for Justice and Dignity following national AFL-CIO Convention)

Speaking at a press conference organized by the AFL-CIO during its national convention in Los Angeles on September 10, Tefere Gebre, past executive director of the Orange County (Calif.) Labor Council and newly elected vice president of the AFL-CIO, stated that no one knows whether Comprehensive Immigration Reform will be approved by this Congress given the "obstructionist role" of many of the Republicans in the House. And he added, "No matter what happens in the Congress, we know this: President Obama could use his authority as president to issue an Executive Order to halt all deportations today!"

This is absolutely true.

Given this impasse in the Congress and the political void it has created, and given the huge anger from below over the more than 400,000 yearly deportations under Obama, far more than under George W. Bush, more and more organizations, including the AFL-CIO, realize that something must be done to address this untenable situation.

Ana Avedaño, director of immigration and community action at the AFL-CIO, put it this way in a press statement published by Associated Press on Sept. 19. "If Congress doesn't move, the President has a duty to act," she said. "Just because the Republicans have buried their heads in the sand doesn't mean that immigrant communities aren't feeling the sting of constant deportations."

Obama and the White House have rejected the call by labor and immigrant rights' groups to unilaterally stop deportations and extend Deferred Action to the millions awaiting legalization. White House spokesperson Bobby Whithorne told a press conference on Sept. 19 that, "The President will not take any further steps. That's it. Full stop. The only way to bring 11 million undocumented individuals out of the shadow economy is for Congress to pass common-sense reform with an earned path to citizenship."

The very next day Obama told Telemundo that such an executive action [for Deferred Action] was "not an option."

But as Gabriel Camacho, an organizer with the Campaign for a Humane Immigration Policy (CHIP), noted in a commentary on Sept. 20, what Obama does or does not do can change very quickly depending on political circumstances and, above all, on what masses of people are able to do in the streets to press for their demands.

"The second-term president said that he does not have the authority to grant Deferred Action, nor to stop the deportations," Camacho stated. "But this is the same president who miraculously discovered that he had the authority to grant temporary legal status to undocumented youth under DACA during his re-election campaign."

And Camacho concluded:

"As long as legislative advocacy is framed on one end, on how to get Republican votes, and on the other end, on how do we curry favor with the Democratic Party, humane immigration reform will never be achieved. As in every successful social movement, the most affected must lead the struggle -- not the Beltway experts and strategists."

[LAST MINUTE: We should add that on Nov. 16, despite all his statements to the contrary, President Obama extended Deferred Action to military families -- which shows that when there's the political will to take action, there's a way. Deferred Action Can and Must be extended to ALL, NOW! Not One More Deportation!]

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