WASHINGTON - Immigrant rights groups stepped up their efforts in calling for the firing of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton in the wake of the detention and inhumane treatment of dozens of Haitian earthquake survivors. The following is a statement by Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, which convenes the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).
"In the days following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the Obama administration made an important act of solidarity by issuing temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitians living in the US. That was the right thing to do. It is alarming and disheartening to hear that ICE is now detaining and holding for deportation Haitians who arrived in Florida, some by U.S. military planes, from the devastated Caribbean country.
"For the last two months, these Haitian immigrants who have just lost everything back home have sat in jail cells as family residing in this country have begged to take them in. The inhumane treatment of these individuals is a global embarrassment to this country. What happened to the 'friend and partner' President Obama promised the Haitian country in the aftermath of the earthquake. The incompetence of ICE continues and must stop immediately. Corrective action begins with the removal of Director John Morton."
On Monday, FIRM called for the firing of John Morton after a story in the Washington Post reported on an email written by a senior official setting out specific quotas for deportations. This action deviated from public statements made by other senior officials at ICE, and also veered drastically away from ICE's stated commitment to focus on dangerous and violent criminals.
FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement) is a coalition of grassroots community organizations nationwide, working on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform and immigrant rights and is convened by the Center for Community Change.
Contact: Germonique R. Ulmer firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 339-9331