January 16, 2014
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, EXHORTING HIM TO PROTECT ALL LEGALIZATION-ELIGIBLE IMMIGRANTS BY EXERCISING EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY, AND ORDERED IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS ON JAN. 28, 2014, BY EXPANDING DEFERRED ACTION AS PROPOSED IN THE GRIJALVA/CLARKE LETTER SIGNED BY 30+ CONGRESS MEMBERS ON DECEMBER 5, 2013.
Dear President Obama,
Our hearts are heavy with increased reports throughout our beloved country of the massive separation of our families due to the politics of deportation pursued aggressively by your administration. In addition, the prospect of “comprehensive immigration reform” in 2014 is less likely than it was in 2013 due to the mid-term elections, and the accusatory finger-pointing and blame game playing out between Democrats and Republicans.
We and our families find ourselves caught in the middle and we refuse to wait and be misled anymore that the legislative process will solve the problem in the near future.
Never before in the history of America have so many of our family relatives been removed from the country due to their lack of legal status. You are familiar with the figures – 1,200 removals daily, 2 million in the first five years of your administration, separation of families, forced deportation of U.S.-born children, and the projection that by the end of your second term, 3 million immigrants will have been deported under your administration.
This is immoral and despicable ! ! !
So, we ask you, do you want this to be your legacy ?
We think not, but as a protest sign expressed: ‘you can’t court us and then deport us’ !
The PROTECT OUR FAMILIES CAMPAIGN seeks to intervene in defense of family integrity and the values that we hold so dear. Nothing is more important to us as our families.
Who are we? -We are working fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, compadres and comadres, veteran immigrant advocates, young Dreamers, and elected officials sworn by oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions.
We assume the responsibility to protect our own. And, we call upon you to do the same. If not us, who? If not now, when?
We ask you to take stock of the Los Angeles City Council Resolution (see attached Cedillo Resolution), which calls upon you to stop the separation of families and deportations, and to grant protected legal status to all legalization-eligible undocumented persons currently in the U.S., as called for in the letter sent to you on December 5, 2013, by Reps. Raul Grijalva and Yvette Clarke.
Unfortunately, you have not replied or even acknowledged this important expression of concern from your own democratic constituency in the House of Representatives. How do you expect democrats to take-back Congress in November and to count on the Latino vote?
While the Los Angeles City Council, representing the second largest city in the U.S., was the first jurisdiction to take this initiative, President David Chiu and 4 other San Francisco Board of Supervisors submitted for adoption their own resolution this week and is scheduled to be adopted on January 28, 2014 (see attached Chiu Resolution).
In addition, you should know that the California Latino Legislative Caucus and many other political jurisdictions in California, Illinois, Washington, and Arizona are considering similar resolutions, as you receive this letter.
This is now a broad and growing national movement to ask you to exercise your legal executive power to protect our families now, while Congress, especially the House, considers – or fails to consider – immigration reform with an inclusive and fair pathway to citizenship for our 11 million undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters.
For you and us, time is of the essence. How many more families will be removed before you take action to definitively stop the bleeding, stop the suffering, stop the removals reminiscent of the nefarious Repatriation “decade of betrayal” of the 1930’s, and the cruel Operation Wetback of the 1950’s ?
Mr. President, even Nancy Pelosi has publicly advocated for you to stop the deportation regime.
Hundreds of thousands of U.S.-born children are being forcibly deported along with their undocumented mothers and fathers. Tens of thousands of other children have been taken into the custody of local departments of social services and placed in foster care at a tremendous fiscal expense to the state and all taxpayers.
Your administration’s massive deportation of over 2 million immigrants has already earned you the legacy of “Deporter-in-chief”. In our community, you are perceived to be implementing Mitt Romney’s ‘self-deportation’ campaign solution.
Is this the HOPE we voted for? Is this the CHANGE we expected? We don’t think so! If you don’t act now, Democrats will have no one else to blame but themselves.
Mr. President, as we approach the national Martin Luther King holiday, we believe that you have the opportunity to be the great emancipator for immigrants and ask you to please join hands with us and the progressive members of congress led by Reps. Grijalva and Clarke.
This “Lincolnian moment” is your opportunity to define your legacy !
Mr. President, we ask that in your January 28, 2014 State of the Union address, you grant protected legal status to all legalization-eligible immigrants, begin their legalization process as you have done for the ‘dreamers’ and thereby end the deplorable massive deportations !
The Los Angeles Region Protect Our Families Coordinators,
/s/ Father Richard Estrada, Jovenes, Inc.
Angela Sanbrano, Mexican Network of Migrant Leaders and Organizations, Red MX*
Prof. Gonzalo Santos, Kern Coalition for Citizenship
Armando Rodriguez, East Los Angeles College President (Retired)
Bertha Rodríguez, Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB)*
Nativo Lopez ©, Hermandad Mexicana Humanitarian Foundation
Carlos Arango, Casa Aztlán
Olga Miranda, SEIU 87 Justice for Janitors*
Jose Antonio Aguirre, Mexican Cultural Institute of L.A.
Frank Martin del Campo, San Francisco LCLAA
Ron Gochez, Southern California Immigration Coalition
Xel’ha Lopez and Sergio Trujillo, Hermandad Mexicana
Anabella Bastida, Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica (COFEM)*
Taina Reyes, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)
Amin David and Jose Moreno, Los Amigos de Orange County*
Ana Barbara Roman, CSULB Dreamer
Baldomero Capiz, Binational Ex-Braceros Association
Antonio Gonzalez, Willie C. Velásquez Institute
Elda Martinez, CARECEN*
Rafael Vasquez, Federación Oaxaqueña de Comunidades Indígenas en California*
Sara Zapata Mijares, Mundo Maya Foundation
Primitivo Rodriguez, Coalition for the Political Rights of Immigrants Abroad
Alan Benjamin, OPEIU Local 3*
David Bacon, Dignity Campaign
Al Rojas, Sacramento Latin American Committee for Labor Advancement (LACLA)
Mario Beltran, Southeast Leadership Network
Thomas Gonzalez and Kathy Jurado, LULAC Long Beach Council*
Prof. Armando Vazquez-Ramos, California-Mexico Studies Center
(* Denotes affiliation for identification purposes only)
Rep. Raul Grijalva and L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo