CWS Statement on President Obama’s Call for Review of Deportation Policies

March 20, 2014

Church World Service (CWS) welcomes President Obama’s call for a review of deportation policies, and urges the administration to use its authority to suspend deportations and allow all undocumented immigrants to apply for deferred action.

Last week, the President expressed “deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system” while speaking with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Responding to the calls that many immigrants’ rights advocates, including CWS, have made for the President to use his authority to end deportations, President Obama has asked the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, to conduct an inventory of current deportation practices to see how they can be more humane, within the confines of the law.

“We have been urging both Congress and the Administration to do all they can to alleviate the suffering of our undocumented community members,” said the Rev. John L. McCullough, CWS President and CEO. “The President’s remarks are encouraging, and we have high expectations that this review will lead to reforms that will keep families together. To be meaningful, these changes must include a suspension of deportations and an expanded process for undocumented individuals to apply for deferred action.”

CWS is part of the Not One More Deportation campaign, led by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) to urge the administration to stop deporting members of our families and communities, and to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows some undocumented youth to work and travel legally in the United States.

In the coming days, CWS will be joining other faith-based organizations in sending a letter to the Obama administration with specific recommendations about how the administration can better prioritize migrant safety and family unity in its enforcement policies. These recommendations will call on the President to end the practices of deporting people in the middle of the night, separating families during deportations and mandating that local police serve as immigration agents. They will also urge the President to increase the use of prosecutorial discretion and allow undocumented individuals to apply for deferred action regardless of how old they were when they entered the United States.

“Especially with this hopeful sign that the President is willing to rework harmful enforcement policies that have been tearing apart families and wrecking havoc on communities, CWS stands committed to working with the administration to drastically shift U.S. deportation policies to better reflect our values,” said the Rev. McCullough. “We will also continue to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to do what only they can do, which is to enact immigration legislation that will reunite separated families and offer meaningful opportunities for our undocumented community members to pursue citizenship. We celebrate progress, and we continue to seek the changes that are needed to realize justice.”