Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Today, the Migration Policy Institute issued a new report, The Deportation Dilemma, that helps shed light on unprecedented deportations and criminal prosecution of immigrants. In recent weeks, as the President hit the inauspicious milestone of 2 million deportations, there has been considerable confusion about the characteristic of deportations. Former acting ICE director John Sandweg’s comments that “run of the mill immigrants” aren’t getting deported has been belied by hunger strikers on the White House lawn and called into question given explosive allegations that he doctored an Inspector General report to cover up misrepresentations about deportation policy made to Congress.
The MPI report attempts to shed light on this debate through detailed data analysis, and its findings open the opportunity for executive action to strengthen discretion and reduce the harm of outdated existing laws. In reaction to the MPI report published today, Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NLDON issued the following statement:
The report confirms what we already know: the president has not yet exercised the full extent of his existing legal authority to protect immigrants from grave injustice caused by outdated laws and policies. It is increasingly clear the President’s immigration policy will evolve soon, and the only questions that remain now are about the timing and scope of expected action. And while there is an effort underway to manage policy expectations, the report makes clear that the limiting factor preventing President Obama from providing relief is 100% political. But the political obstacles are being removed.
We are grateful to MPI for its effort to cut through ICE’s spin and opaque reporting in order to accurately describe the status quo. But that description has been fully known for years despite ICE’s distortions. ICE is a rogue agency, it has expanded its definition of the word “priority” in order to give itself high marks, and it has pursued deportation policy that is criminalizing migrants.
What is required now is not just a vast reduction of deportations and the wholesale termination of failed programs like Secure Communities – what Is required now is a massive expansion of the work authorization and interim status that was provided to DACA recipients. Presidential action can and will provide relief for millions of immigrant families, it will benefit the economy, and it will hopefully help compel lawmakers in Congress to finally get their act together and pass legislation that will bring immigration laws in line with national values.
As part of NDLON’s #Not1More campaign, immigrant families with loved ones in deportation proceedings have been on hunger strike in front of the White House since April 8th. As part of their final week, members of an independent review of undocumented leaders, the #Not1More Blue Ribbon Commission, will present their own findings and recommendations in a Congressional briefing in Cannon 421 at 11:00am on Thursday May 1st.