A project of the Center for Community Change

Press Releases

DHS Acknowledges Serious Problems with Family Detention but Does Not Commit to Ending Unjust Practice

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Contacts: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org, 202.339.9377
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202.339.9331

FIRM Says Initial Changes Are a Good Start, but Do Not Do Enough to End Inhumane Practice

(WASHINGTON)—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement said changes announced today by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson regarding policies on family detention are not enough to end the inhumane practice of detaining women and children in jail-like conditions.

“Secretary Johnson’s announcement is a first step in acknowledging the serious problems with family detention, but still small progress on the road to changing our nation’s unjust immigration practices,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “Changing the name of detention centers to “residential centers” does not change the reality that these are places where families are inhumanely detained. We hope these proposed changes will ultimately result in ending the unjust and wasteful practice of detaining women and children altogether.”

“The fact is this unjust practice of family detention is still a reality in the United States,” said Matos. “It is completely out of sync with our country’s values and it must end now.”

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3rd Anniversary of DACA Shows Administrative Relief Has Helped the Economy While Keeping Families Together

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 15, 2015
Contact:
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202.339.9331
Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org, 202.339.9377

DACA Success Proves Lawsuit Delaying Additional Administrative Relief Must be Dropped

(WASHINGTON)—The third anniversary granting immigrant youth who were brought to the United States as children reprieve from deportation has not only kept families together but has greatly strengthened the economy.

“The success of DACA proves that the lawsuit supported by the Attorneys General and Governors of 26 states is nothing but another ploy by anti-immigrant lawmakers to prevent meaningful comprehensive reform, which is supported by the majority of Americans, from becoming a reality,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). “The lawsuit delaying the implementation of President Obama’s executive actions announced last fall must immediately be dropped.”

A report by the Center for American Progress estimates that DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals and DAPA (deferred action for parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents) would grow the U.S. economy by $230 billion over the next 10 years. The report states that if undocumented immigrants are allowed to apply for temporary work permits, their chances to earn higher wages increase, they get the opportunity to apply for jobs that better match their skillsets and protects them from workplace exploitation. In turn, those immigrants have more money to spend on everyday goods and services.

“Not only is administrative relief like DACA and DAPA economically sound, they remove the fear of deportation allowing immigrant families to thrive in the country they love and work hard for,” Matos said.

Jessica Martinez, 16, with the FIRM group Make the Road New York, said after years of living in fear of her family being deported, DACA has allowed her to work toward fulfilling her dreams.

“I feel at home now,” Martinez said. “One day I want to study art and graphic design and having DACA gives me hope to get closer to that dream.”

FIRM sees today’s anniversary as a call to keep fighting for relief for all immigrant families, Matos said.

“Our families will continue to fight to have administrative relief implemented,” Matos said. “Our fight will be visible through actions and our might will be felt at the ballot box as we approach a critical election year.”

Last Friday, FIRM leaders and immigrant rights activists came together in New Orleans to deliver a nationwide petition to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. The petition calls on Attorneys General and Governors of the 26 suing states to drop the lawsuit and #RestoreRelief. That action is a preview to upcoming larger movement-wide actions being planned for July 10 when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments on the case.

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Fair Immigration Reform Movement Applauds Senators for Urging Head of Homeland Security to End Family Detention

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org, 202.339.9377
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202.339.9331

Secretary Johnson Must End Inhumane Detention of Immigrant Families

WASHINGTON—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) applauded the 33 Senators who signed a letter calling on Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to end the inhumane practice of family detention. The Senate letter complements last week’s House letter, both of which are part of mounting pressure to end the unjust practice of detaining innocent women and children seeking refuge from dangers in their home countries.

“We applaud the Senators for taking a stand and encouraging DHS to end family detention for families seeking refuge in the United States,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “These Senators understand that treating victims like criminals is wrong and goes against our most fundamental values. Ending family detention is the only way to end the harsh treatment these mothers and children are facing.”

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the inhumane prolonged detention practices DHS is condoning. Prisons are no place for families and must end the practice of locking up mothers and their children seeking refuge in the US because it is downright immoral,” said Matos. “We urge Secretary Johnson to seize this moment and end our nation’s inhumane history of detaining families once and for all.”

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