President Barack Obama’s decision to delay administrative relief for immigrants facing deportation until August demonstrates that the President continues to be willing to separate families and persecute immigrant communities for short-term political gain. The Obama administration has already deported more than 2 million immigrants since 2008 and is projected to deport at least 97,000 more immigrants before the White House acts.
“Families like mine cannot wait for relief. My father could be deported in the next few months and the President continues to play political games with our lives. We will hold the President and other politicians accountable for the harm they have inflicted on our communities. We will continue to take action to demand that the President provide immediate relief from deportations,” explains Gabriela Benitez, an organizer with the Immigrant Youth Justice League whose father Daniel Marquez is currently in deportation proceedings.
The President’s announcement is an attempt to shift attention away from his own cruel deportation policies that have been challenged by immigrant rights groups, including the Immigrant Youth Justice League, Undocumented Illinois and other members of the national Not1More campaign. The prospects of any comprehensive immigration legislation passing in the House this Congress are extremely unlikely. More importanly,we know that any proposed legislation will ultimately provide more harm our immigrant communities than any relief. Organizations that have provided political cover for the President’s political maneuver by asking him to delay relief have demonstrated their lack of commitment to immigrant communities and their willingness to use the suffering of these communities for their own gain. Our communities cannot wait until August. President Obama needs to act now and stop deportations.
The Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) is a Chicago-based organization led by undocumented organizers working towards full recognition of the rights and contributions of all immigrants through education, leadership development, policy advocacy, resource gathering, and mobilization.