Church World Service applauds Obama mandate on deportations

August 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Humanitarian agency Church World Service applauds the Obama administration’s announcement Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to United States national security or public safety, and instead would exercise prosecutorial discretion to focus enforcement efforts on cases involving criminals.

“This is a big and important step toward fair, humane, common sense reform of our nation’s broken immigration system,” said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS immigration and refugee program.

“President Obama’s decision puts national resources to the important goal of ensuring the security of our communities and stops wasting those precious resources on arresting, detaining and deporting low-priority cases, including individuals who were brought to this country as young children and know no other home,” Kekic said.

Church World Service is a long-time advocate of immigration reform that reunites families, protects all workers and provides a way for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status, including students who were brought to the United States as children and are undocumented.

The administration’s directive and new guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security echo in part the intention of proposed DREAM Act legislation, which would give young undocumented immigrants who are attending college or serving in the military an opportunity to work legally and attain legal status.

“We look forward to working with the Obama Administration on and holding it accountable for implementation of the new policy and with Congress on further reform, Kekic said.

Church World Service is one of ten voluntary agencies that helps resettle newly arrived refugees in the U.S. The international relief, development and refugee protection agency also provides immigration legal services for immigrants and refugees, working through its nationwide network of local affiliate agencies.