Yesterday, President Obama announced that undocumented immigrants without criminal records facing deportation can stay in the U.S. The government is saying that many of them might be able to apply for a work permit.
This is coming after intense pressure from leaders, organizations, and community members across the country. Last Monday, over 200 people protested a meeting that ICE was conducting in LA. Two days later in Chicago, organizations demonstrated as well, calling for a stop to the massive deportations.
So far, the Obama administration has deported close to 1,000,000 people. The Administration has said that, through its infamous program Secure Communities, they are focusing on people with severe criminal offenses. However, there have been multiple reports that shed light on how most of the people detained, and who are now in deportation proceedings, were “guilty” of nothng more than speeding tickets or for “suspiciously looking undocumented.”
According to the Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, on a case-by-case basis, will review the 300,000 pending cases that are in deportation proceedings at this moment.
It is understandable that this is part of a larger political game, where conservative groups will be angered at this decision. On the other side, immigrant leaders, and specifically Latino communities also understand that this could be a tactic of courting Latino voters.
But this is more complex than it looks. Organized groups have put pressure on the President, while the latter has focused on finding ways to encourage Latino voters to help him in his reelection. Even though this is a victory, we shouldn’t forget that we still need to get rid of Secure Communities, and any other collaboration between police and immigration officials collaboration, which are destroying our families, communities, and local economies. We also need a real, comprehensive solution so all our families can enjoy the everyday security that so many of us take for granted.