Once you’ve known the loss of everything in life it’s much easier to take risks in the future. Seven illegal immigrants chained themselves to a fence at the White House on Sept. 18 in a protest against deportations of illegal immigrants who had hoped to be legalized by now. This was done as the U.S. House of Representatives contemplated taking up immigration reform. Many calling for immigration reform in California and elsewhere are dedicating their efforts to influence conservatives in the House to act.
The group at the White House decided to put its time into trying to stop the Obama administration from massive daily deportations. They can’t wait for immigration reform anymore, and want Obama to increase his stay of deportations for so-called “dreamers” to additional immigrants. In some cases, immigrants being deported are not given a chance to even present a deportation defense.
All seven of the protesters were arrested and released later in the afternoon. Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no comment, but the general policy is to not start deportation proceedings against undocumented protesters in Washington. Officials have stated that they will concentrate on deporting those with extensive criminal records or who pose a national security threat.
Liberal activists and progressives for immigration reform have suggested that protestors direct their efforts toward the Congress where immigration reform now languishes due to Republican opposition. The director of immigration policy for the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, said that immigration advocates should focus on pressuring House Republicans. Despite the Senate’s sweeping bill approved in July, the House, under the leadership of Republicans has not even filed a bill that addresses the fate of undocumented immigrants.
A spokesperson for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which organized the White House action, said that the group wants President Obama to expand the program for “dreamers” to prohibit other deportations. Obama already explained, however, in public interviews that he cannot go further without overstepping his authority. In some states like California, state legislators have stepped up instead to pass significant immigration legislation providing relief from the harsh practices of the federal government.
Source: USA Today, Undocumented immigrants fight deportations at White House, Alan Gomez, Sept. 19,2013