A project of the Center for Community Change

Grassroots Groups Launch Change Takes Courage Campaign

President Obama urged not to forget his campaign promises for relief to the immigrant community

Today, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement launched the Change Takes Courage Campaign with a press conference on Capitol Hill to urge President Obama to use his discretionary authority to stop separating families through deportations. The organizations are specifically asking President Obama to provide relief to parents of citizen children, military veterans, DREAM-eligible youth and immigrants with deep roots in their communities who work and have families here; to curb ICE programs that undermine the public safety of all communities; and increase protection of all workers.

“We know that Homeland Security has the authority under current law to provide relief to unauthorized individuals whose circumstances are determined to be worthy or compelling enough, and we know from his own words that President Obama understands the wrongs of our deeply flawed immigration system,” said Eva Millona, a member of FIRM’s executive board and executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “In this climate, we cannot expect Congress to take action to right these wrongs, but change can still happen if President Obama can find the courage of his convictions.”

Millona was joined at the podium by DREAM student Anngie Gutierrez; Maria Bolaños, who was detained and placed in deportation proceedings after calling police for help; Emma Lozano, president of Familias Latinas Unidas/Sin Fronteras; Rep. Luis Guiterrez of Illinois; Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota; Rep. Judy Chu of California; Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona; Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois; and Rep. Mike Honda of California.

FIRM is working with Rep. Luis Gutierrez on a national tour, American Children and Families, to elevate the stories of families affected by deportations. Gutierrez pointed out at the press conference that nothing new or innovative is being asked of President Obama nor anything that stretches the parameters of his authority.

“We read in that leaked memo, the Mayorkas memo, that he has a great amount of leeway and prosecutorial discretion in how deportation policy is meted out and how resources are targeted in the government he runs,” said Rep. Gutierrez. “So we are asking the President to act at least to stop the deportations of the families of U.S. citizens, young people who should have been legalized via the DREAM Act, and stop the expansion of programs that weaken public safety and serve as a dragnet for law-abiding immigrants by enlisting state and local police in federal enforcement. That is what we are asking.”

For more details on the Change Takes Courage Campaign, please visit our web site changetakescourage.org.

Video of the press conference can be seen here: changetakescourage.org/campaign-videos

A collection of candidate Obama’s remarks against deportations can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9F9C8C33523B207D

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