"Change Takes Courage" Campaign launched in D.C.
Thursday, March 30, 2011, BOSTON -- Today in Washington a press conference echoed the call heard in cities around the nation this week for a national moratorium on the most egregious kinds of deportations. The following is a statement issued by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) about the national press conference.
"As a candidate, Barack Obama won over many voters with his promise that under his administration the cruel deportation and enforcement practices of the Bush Administration would end. Two years into his administration, Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano are on pace to deport nearly 1,000,000 people whom he promised relief. On Thursday, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement will launch a national campaign Change Takes Courage to call on President Obama to put an immediate moratorium on deportations until our dysfunctional immigration system is repaired.
Among the changes the campaign is asking for: granting parole in place to students eligible for the DREAM Act, parents of citizen children and immigrants with deep roots in the community; greater protections for all workers, including a moratorium on audits and ensuring the right to organize; and a discontinuation of immigration programs that undermine the safety of all communities."
Speaking at the press conference with Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and others, MIRA Executive Director Eva Millona mentioned many of the stories documented by the campaign on a new website, WeAreAmericaStories.org, along with the story of a Southeastern Massachusetts factory owner who is being forced by ICE to release some of his longest-serving workers. â€œI interact with immigrants everywhere I go,â€ he told us. â€œThey serve me at restaurants. They sell me groceries. And for years and years they have worked with me. Theyâ€™re like my family. And to repay them for their loyalty and labor, Iâ€™m being told I should punish them."
Ms. Millona summed up by saying, "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 system. 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."