A project of the Center for Community Change

Fasters to the Fifth Circuit: Your Intentional Anti-Immigrant Political Delay Strategy Won’t Work

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Contact: Carlos Vogel, cvogel@communitychange.org (202) 239-2133

(New Orleans, LA)—Today, The Fast to Keep Families Together participants, along with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), directly impacted immigrant families and national leaders representing faith, labor, civil rights and the community held a powerful closing ceremony with a prayer, testimonials from the fasters and breaking of bread outside the courthouse in New Orleans to end the nine-day fast they had hoped would get the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to put aside their intentional anti-immigrant partisan agenda and issue a ruling on administrative relief.

The fast and vigil started last Wednesday, October 14th outside the courthouse with nine participants from Arizona, California, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon. Four more fasters from Illinois, Georgia, and Virginia joined this week. Solidarity fasts and actions were held in Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas, and fasters were visited by national and local leaders who joined them in solidarity for periods of one to three days.

The court’s delay in issuing a ruling has made many wonder if they are acting with a political bias in order to advance a conservative agenda being pushed by Republican Attorneys General and extremists running for President.

“Tearing families apart to advance an anti-immigrant agenda for political reasons is unacceptable and inhumane,” stated Petra Falcon, Executive Director of Promise Arizona and one of the fasters. “What the Republican Party and the Fifth Circuit Court judges need to realize is that this is not just a policy issue; it’s personal, it’s about respect and dignity, and it’s about millions of lives. This is why we will continue to pressure the Fifth Circuit and others who stand in our way.”

With this lawsuit, Republicans want to deport the parents of five million U.S citizens who work hard and contribute every day to America’s economy and communities. A delay on the part of the Fifth Circuit not only prevents the Supreme Court from making a final decision, but defers justice for immigrant communities. There is so much at stake for Latinos and immigrants in America. This timeline is serious.

“Their delay strategy is affecting millions of people who might have a little bit of security knowing they can keep their families together,” said Nora Hernandez, DACA extension eligible, faster, and a leader with El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos in New Mexico. “I will continue to organize and mobilize my community in New Mexico so they can vote in 2016. We will elect leaders who defend programs such as DACA and DAPA.  I can’t vote, but my mom is preparing to become a citizen and will vote for the first time next year.”

“I have a lot of faith that good will always prevail over evil. It’s devastating to know that members of my community will continue to wait for a solution and continue to live in fear of deportation,” stated Aldo Solano, DREAMer, DACA recipient, faster, and a leader with CAUSA in Oregon.  “The DACA program changed my life and that of my brother and sister for the better; I know that DAPA would also change the lives of so many people in my community who are good hard working people who contribute to this economy and not the criminals that Donald Trump and other conservatives make them out to be.”

“This intentional delay decision affects the members of my church and my community. Many of them could benefit from DACA and DAPA, “said Jose Landaverde, an American citizen, one of the fasters, and Pastor at Faith, Life, and Hope Church in Illinois. “We now need to take the next step and get out the vote in 2016 to elect politicians and a president who defends us and give us a permanent solution – comprehensive immigration reform for the 11 million. If we do not vote, we are condemning our communities to deportation.”

“There are so many good people, hard workers and taxpayers who will continue to live in the limbo because of Fifth Circuit Court’s unacceptable inaction,” stated Carlos Mauricio Jimenez, faster and a leader with Make the Road New York. “I am a permanent resident and in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. I am motivated to get my citizenship because I want to be part of this country and of the electoral process to elect leaders who stand with us and not against us.”

“The strategy of anti-immigrant Republicans, aided by a conservative court that seems intent on blocking administrative relief orders, continues to tear apart thousands of families every day,” said Kica Matos, FIRM’s spokesperson. “The courage and sacrifice of the fasters was noted around the country, and will not be in vain. Politicians and judges who stand against DAPA and DACA stand against American families and communities.”

“We are watching every move judges and anti-immigrant extremists make and we will not forget who stood with us and who was against us,” added Matos. “Latino and immigrant communities will rise above the anti-immigrant rhetoric, hate, and intolerance and will fight hard and fight back until we prevail in the courts and can move to implement DACA+ and DAPA. The Fifth Circuit has not seen the last of us.”

“DAPA and DACA+ will be an issue in the 2016 elections. Every Republican or Democrat presidential candidate who opposes these policies will see the results in the voting booth,” Matos said.

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