FAMILIA LATINA UNIDA STATEMENT – JULY 19TH, 2011

Posted on July 18, 2011

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Bus to Washington DC Will Bring victims of Obama’s Broken Promise
“We are prepared to go to jail”

We are announcing today that a delegation of elected officials, pastors, family, students and children will leave for Washington to join a national protest in front of the White House, led by Congressman Gutierrez and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Tuesday, July 26th.
The gathering in front of the White House culminates a 30 city campaign to ask the President to use his executive powers to stop the deportations and separation of families and to suspend the secure communities act program.
While we recognize that the current political deadlock in Congress means no meaningful immigration reform legislation can be passed in the remaining two years of the Obama administration, we also recognize the promise the President was elected on the basis of – and the President’s discretionary choice to deport 400,000 people a year, 1100 a day, the largest number of deportations in the history of this country. The discretionary enforcement quota, and the programs established to meet it, is in direct contradiction to the President’s campaign covenant with the Latino community.
Leading our delegation to Washington DC will be Saulito Arellano, the U.S. citizen son of Elvira Arellano, who has been de facto deported to Mexico with hundreds of thousands of other U.S. citizen children.
Included in our delegation are Armando Gutierrez and two U.S. citizen children. Mr Gutierrez, who is scheduled for deportation today, is an example of why we are both calling for an administrative suspension of certain deportations and for the the suspension of the secure communities act.
Armando Gutierrez was in a van, owned by a temporary labor agency, on his way to work when he was stopped by a surburban police officer who clearly profiled a van filled with Latinos. The officer checked the immigration status of all of those in the van and 11 were turned over to immigration. That action has led to Armando Gutierrez’ deportation order today.
Our attorneys have filed for a stay of this deportation order and Armando Gutierrez is waiting for the response to that motion. Mr. Gutierrez is the father of two U.S. citizen children. He has no criminal convictions or criminal history. He has worked consistently in this country for 12 years and has paid his taxes religiously.
The President has said that the Administration policy is to focus its enforcement efforts on those undocumented who have criminal convictions and that that policy is the stated objective of the secure communities program. Statistics show that most of those arrested and deported have no criminal convictions and Armando Gutierrez is the face of the failure of this program.
The President has the discretionary authority to focus on a particular group for deportation – those with criminal convictions – and he has the discretionary authority to grant hardship exceptions to those whose deportations would create hardship for U.S. citizens.
Like hundreds of thousands of those facing deportation, Armando Gutierrez is both someone who should not have been gathered up by local racial profiling police for deportation and someone whose deportation will cause an incalculable hardship on his two U.S. citizen children.
We are asking ICE to use the discretion that Robert Morton promised us in Chicago last week. We are asking the President to make a commitment to use his discretionary powers to stop the deportation and separation of families of millions of all those like Armando Gutierrez and his children.
It should be clear to the President that our community cannot be expected to go to the polls and re-elect a politician who has not kept his promise. If return from Washington with empty hands we will take our “lockbox voter registration campaign across the state of Illinois: registering individuals and putting their pledge to vote for President Obama in a lockbox, pending his response to the demand of our entire community.

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