National Groups to Hold President to His Promise on Immigration

November 6, 2014

Rev. Dr. Earl Trent speaking at the November 6, 2014 press conference in Washington, DC. Photo: CWS

Rev. Dr. Earl Trent speaking at the November 6, 2014 press conference in Washington, DC. Photo: CWS

Washington, DC — Today, Rev. Dr. Earl Trent, chair of the CWS board of directors, joined other national leaders from all segments of the pro-immigrant rights movement at a press conference, urging President Barack Obama to seize the moment and use his authority to take administrative action to expand immediate relief from deportations for millions of workers and families that are already a part of our American communities.

Below are brief remarks from Rev. Dr. Trent and several of the other speakers at today’s press conference:

Rev. Dr. Earl Trent, Chair, Church World Service
“Across this nation, there are 5.5 million children who have at least one undocumented parent. These children live in fear that deportation will destroy their families. As people of faith, we say no more. The President must keep his promise and end the fears of millions of children. Anything less will be an abdication of his moral responsibility to these families.”

Mary Kay Henry, Int’l President, SEIU
“Yesterday, as Republican Congressional leaders issued threats, President Obama reiterated his determination to do what is in his authority to do and provide relief for our country’s immigrant families and communities as soon as possible.

“We fully support his commitment; it is urgently needed. Millions of immigrants need to be brought out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society through bold and decisive action from the President.”

Rich Trumka, Int’l President, AFL-CIO
“The AFL-CIO has been calling on the White House to halt unnecessary deportations since the Spring of 2013 because we know that we are stronger when all workers stand together. So today I am here to renew our call for the executive branch to provide work authorization, at minimum, all those who would be on a pathway to citizenship now if House Republicans had allowed a vote on the bipartisan Senate bill.”

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, Nat’l Immigration Law Center
“The President’s legal authority to allow aspiring citizens to apply for deportation relief and work authorization is broad and well established. The real question is whether he will act boldly enough to meet the challenge our immigration system poses for all of us. We urge the President to restore balance and fairness, and allow those with strong ties to our country—as workers, as parents, as classmates—to be allowed to live free from fear of deportation.”

Gustavo Torres, Co-Chair of FIRM & President of CASA in Action
“We believe that now is not a moment of limitation but a moment of vision. This is not a negotiation with opponents of immigrants. This is the President’s vision of who belongs. Parents of children, regardless of their status, people who contribute to our economy, whether they’ve been here 10 years, 5 years, or one. These are the life stories of CASA’s members—and they are all Americans, waiting for the President to act.”

Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, Deputy Vice President, NCLR
“The President has the power, precedent, and priority for action on his side,” said Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Deputy Vice President of NCLR. “He must seize this moment to fulfill his promise and bring some sanity to the immigration system, while also providing relief to the millions of families affected by congressional obstruction.  Furthermore, his action stands to bring national security and economic benefit to the country, and should not be delayed.”

Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director, United We Dream
“Dreamers made a promise to our community to fight and win administrative relief for our parents, neighbors, workers, and our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I remember the day I had to tell my parents, Ligia and Fausto, the heart breaking news that President Obama had delayed his promise to protect millions of undocumented people from deportation. My father got teary-eyed and reminded me that President Obama chose politics over our lives. United We Dream members will fight tooth and nail to make sure President Obama’s promise is kept and we won’t stop until people like my father and millions of other undocumented people can live free from fear of deportation and exploitation.”

Eddie Carmona, Campaign for Citizenship Director, PICO National Network
“After making contact with over 100,000 Latinos through our electoral work this cycle, the one clear takeaway is this: Latinos care deeply about their families and communities and cannot be taken for granted. For us, the values of family unity and human dignity should not depend on who’s winning in Washington. They should depend on what’s morally right and just for our country.  That’s why we’re calling on the President to use his existing legal authority to provide relief to as many of our families as possible and to do it as soon as possible.  Our communities and this country are yearning for a real leader in Washington, and in the midst of a dysfunctional and obstructionist Congress, we’re looking for the President to deliver.”

Salvador Sarmiento, National Director of Legislative Affairs, NDLON
“It is no longer a question of if or when the President will act but what will he do. Will the President build on, or undermine, the standard in the bipartisan senate bill? Will he listen to the hundreds of localities that have rejected the secure communities deportation dragnet? Will the president meet directly with people fighting their own cases and above all stand up for the principle of equality? Because, with the unprecedented unity that now exists, we refuse to be divided.”

Erika Andiola, Co-Director, Dream Action Coalition
“It’s time for the President to put our families before erroneous political calculations. My mother has a month before she must report back to ICE. There are tens of thousands of families in our same situation, millions among the undocumented community who can’t afford another delay. The President must act now. Families like mine could be next to be separated.”

Christian Ramirez, Co-Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition
“Southern border communities urge the President to act boldly and take an administrative action that should uphold the dignity of the millions of people that call this region home. Our communities have endured the ill effects of excessive, expensive, and unaccountable enforcement, which has eroded the quality of life for border residents. Administrative action should respect the rights of border residents and move us all forward together.”