For Immediate Release: January 8, 2016
President Obama and Secretary Jeh Johnson ruined the holidays for families across the nation. Just two days before Christmas, the Department of Homeland Security announced a plan to deport thousands of parents and children who have fled extreme violence in Central America. Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are three of the most dangerous countries in the world, all marked by high levels of organized crime and violence. If these families are deported, they would be returned to places they fled to escape being killed, raped or tortured. Our response should not be to invade homes, tear families apart, and send those fleeing violence back to bloodshed. Immigrant advocates and allies in Pennsylvania and across the Country are demanding that the ICE raids stop immediately.
Since last Saturday, January 2nd, ICE agents raided homes in Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, California, and Texas, sending over one hundred people into immediate removal procedures. While the Obama Administration says it is only targeting those who arrived in 2014 from Central America, all undocumented immigrants feel attacked.
“People are very angry right now and aren’t going to work or taking their kids to school. We have experienced the impacts of fear and deportations throughout the country,” said Teresa Herrera, a New Sanctuary Movement leader from Mexico.
“These policy changes seem to be designed to increase the prison and military industrial complex as there is little correlation between undocumented immigration and crime,” explains Michelle Hamilton, the Vice President of Pennsylvania National Organization for Women. “These policies affect Americans’ attitudes towards immigrants and refugees. This increased criminalization can lead to discrimination and violence against immigrants”
Earlier this week, immigrant groups in Philadelphia were encouraged when just a few hours into his new role, Mayor Jim Kenney kept his promise to immigrant communities and re-instated Philadelphia’s groundbreaking 2014 policy not to honor ICE detainers. Philadelphians are proud to welcome a mayor who will go against the grain, stay true to his word and stand for immigrants.
While immigrant communities in Philadelphia consider themselves fortunate because local law enforcement will not take part in the national raids, they are fully aware that communities outside of Philadelphia do not benefit from the same protection.
Today, the Pennsylvania Immigrant and Citizenship Coalition, New Sanctuary Movement, Juntos and the St. Aquinas Catholic Church Community, will gather in front of the ICE office in Philadelphia to call for an end to the horrific raids and demand policy changes. This event is part of a national day of action, including a press conference in front of the White House with Congressman Luis Gutierrez, immigrant rights groups, along with labor, faith, families, and members of Congress. The message is clear: the Obama Administration must immediately put an end to their plan to continue to raid people’s homes, terrorize families, and rip them apart.
“We need to face this reality without fear and continue to fight against injustice. We’ve had a lot of victories for immigrants, including Mayor Kenney’s order ending all collaboration with ICE on Monday. We must continue to act and push for more. Together, we can win so much more,” said Teresa Herrera.
What: Members of Immigrant Community to Demand That Obama Administration Put an End to Home Raids of Central American Immigrants
When: Friday, January 8, 2016; 11 AM
Where: ICE Office, 1600 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia
- Sundrop Carter, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
- Rev. Monsignor Hugh J. Shields, Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Community
- Yared Portillo, Juntos
- Maria Turcios, New Sanctuary Movement
The Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC) is a diverse coalition of 50 member organizations and hundreds of individual members. Our membership includes grassroots community groups, service providers, unions, advocacy organizations, faith communities, immigrants and concerned individuals. Our mission is to advance immigrants’ rights and promote immigrants’ full integration into society by advocating with a unified voice for greater public understanding and welcoming public policies throughout Pennsylvania. PICC leads and supports advocacy and organizing to advance immigrant rights at the local, state and federal levels; builds immigrant electoral power through voter registration, turnout and citizenship promotion; and provides information, training and leadership development to immigrant communities and immigrant-serving organizations.