Obama Can Act Now and Must
(Washington, DC) – At a protest outside the national headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security today, dozens blocked streets and hundreds more participated in a protest to call attention to the suffering of immigrant families across the country. The willingness of people, which included representatives of major immigrant organizations and faith leaders to get arrested, underscored the growing disenchantment with the administration’s inaction on immigration reform.
The protest was held to call for an immediate suspension of deportations of immigrants with U.S. citizen family members and action on passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Held on the eve of the President’s State of the Union address, it highlights the growing frustration of immigrants and their families regarding the administration’s failure to deliver on basic commitments made during the 2008 presidential race.
“Last year on January 21st, we stood in front of DHS with faith leaders and 800 allies to urge a moratorium on the raids and press for immigration reform. We stand here again with our partners a year later to again make the case that in the absence of federal action to fix the broken immigration system, this nation will continue to see the devastation of thousands of families and neighborhoods,” stated EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC.
Tuesday’s action was held to draw attention to The Trail of DREAMs-a journey through the U.S. south, from Florida to Washington, to demand immediate relief for suffering immigrant communities. Drawing inspiration from the civil rights movement, four students are walking to bring public attention to a failed immigration system that tears families apart and halts the progress of students studying to contribute to their communities. The Trail of DREAMs, together with several other actions across the country, including the 17-day Fast for Our Families in South Florida, and a march of tens of thousands in Phoenix, Arizona to protest local enforcement of immigration law, have focused on the capacity – and the moral obligation – of the Obama
Administration to use its executive power to stop separating families and criminalizing immigrant communities. While local in nature, these actions have received nationwide support from activists frustrated by federal inaction.
“The administration’s missteps in conceding advantage to a wildly
unrepresentative far-right fringe is producing real anger among many people that heralded the 2008 election,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland. “We are here to mark one year of inaction and remind the administration that immigrants and people who love them are suffering every day that it refuses to take action,” said Mr. Torres.
Participating in today’s actions were representatives of a broad group of organizations including CASA de Maryland, the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Jobs With Justice, the Miami Worker Center, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), the South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice Center, and We Count!.Community Worker Center as well as hundreds of immigrant workers, faith leaders, labor activists, and community leaders.