Washington, DC - Reform Immigration FOR America announced its participation in a sustained campaign of civil disobedience in conjunction with immigrants' rights organizations across the nation. A combination of an enforcement only approach from the administration, draconian anti-immigrant laws like Arizona's SB1070, and lack of leadership - from the President and Republicans - have created a national crisis in America. The following is a statement from Rich Stolz, Campaign Manager of Reform Immigration FOR America:
"Every year, nearly 400,000 people are deported. Deportations are resulting in the destruction of families every day in our nation. Mothers are being ripped away from their children and fathers are being disappeared. Today we gathered to say: enough. Enough of broken families. Enough of broken promises from our leaders in Washington. Enough of the hateful rhetoric. This is our country and our country is better than this. The time for delay, broken promises, and empty words has run out.
The immigrant community and its allies - conservative, progressive, and independent,- have done their part and some have shown great courage. We've marched in unprecedented numbers, we've called or faxed the White House and Members of Congress more than 1 million times, and we've held thousands of events in communities ranging from Nashua, New Hampshire to Columbia, South Carolina to Oakland, California. Now immigrants and their allies are taking these actions to another level. Just yesterday, four courageous immigrant student activists risked deportation by "sitting-in" in Senator John McCain's office in Tucson Arizona to demand action on the DREAM Act, and in New York City a diverse group of faith, labor and lay leaders were arrested protesting family separation and calling for comprehensive reform. Our campaign is inspired by the gutsy student activists at McCain's office, by the commitment of farmworkers who have marched throughout rural areas, and the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets over the past 3 months calling for comprehensive reform.
Yet where is the political courage from the President and the Republican Party? The President has repeatedly promised the American people a comprehensive fix to our broken immigration system and an end to the worst excesses of the Bush administration's enforcement-only approach. Despite his wonderful speeches and promises, he has dramatically failed to deliver. Instead we're faced with the intolerable status quo. For now the Obama administration is more intent on being tough on children, on mothers and on exploited workers.
Equally troubling has been the demagoguery and political opportunism from the Republican Party that has helped create - along with persistent federal inaction - the political environment to pass draconian measures like Arizona's SB1070. Extremists should not hold sway over, or dictate to one of America's major political parties. Senator McCain once courageously stood for not allowing our political process to be held hostage by the voices of extremism, right or left. Where is that Senator McCain? Too many elected Republicans are playing Arizona-style politics and doing all they can to obstruct comprehensive reform, or worse, endorsing or trying to pass Arizona-type laws in their states.
We stand with our partners because we cannot accept the current state of affairs. We support this campaign of non-violent civil disobedience. We are joining the call for action on May 29th.
We are calling for strong and demonstrative intervention by the President and constructive, serious Republican leadership. We will work toward the introduction of bipartisan legislation that is just and provides a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here, and for immediate administrative action to bring relief to America's immigrant families. The humanitarian crisis at and inside our borders and the racial polarization driven by opportunist politicians must end now.
Just yesterday, it was reported that Obama's Aunt, Zeituni Onyango, was spared deportation by U.S. Immigration authorities. We're pleased the President's family will be spared the horror of a family member uprooted and deported. Unfortunately, too many immigrant families suffering through our broken immigration system and the administration's enforcement-only approach can't say the same. Obama's words may lift up America's highest ideals, but his actions compound the injustice of our broken immigration system."
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The National Immigration Forum is the nation's premier immigrant rights organization, dedicated to embracing and upholding America's tradition as a nation of immigrants.