Did you watch "Lost in Detention" on PBS's Frontline on Tuesday night? If you missed it, you can watch it online today1. This groundbreaking documentary showed us just how dangerous President Obama's immigration policies really are.
The most frustrating part of the documentary was having to watch White House official, Cecilia Muñoz, defend the Administration's failed immigration policies. As the former vice president at the National Council of La Raza, Ms. Muñoz was a champion for immigrant rights and fierce voice for justice. She knew our struggles and witnessed the pain that a broken immigration system inflicts on our communities.
Now, Ms. Muñoz is the main administration official publicly defending "Secure Communities" (S-COMM), which relies on racial profiling to incarcerate immigrants and tear apart thousands of families each year.2 Not only is she defending the program, but she has made a series of statements that hide the human toll of the immigration crisis that are outlined below.
We want Cecilia, the immigrant rights advocate, back!
Click here to sign a petition asking Ms. Muñoz to set the record straight and to denounce S-COMM. When you're done, please forward this email to your friends and family and ask them to sign as well.
MISREPRESENTATION: Ms. Munoz has said that half of the almost 400,000 immigrants deported this year were criminals.3
FACT: According to statistics released this week, only 22% of people deported last year were convicted of serious offenses.4 That means that 78% of the "criminals" being deported by the Obama administration for "serious" offenses are people with traffic and immigration violations and other non-violent offenses. Furthermore, legal experts and journalists have questioned Muñoz and the Obama Administration's definitions of “criminal” immigrants.
According to the administration's statistics, one person's petty marijuana charge would be considered the same as someone else's armed robbery. What's worse, in the 2011 fiscal year, the Obama administration changed the way it defined "criminal" to include people never convicted of any crime under previous definitions.5
Journalist Adam Serwer recently said that the Administration's definition of its “criminal removals” category “raises the question of just how many people in this category actually fit the description of someone who has committed a serious crime or poses a threat to public safety.6” It's outrageous and only further criminalizes immigrants who want to give back to this country.
MISREPRESENTATION: Ms. Muñoz defended S-COMM by saying that the Obama administration modified it after listening to community input.
FACT: The S-COMM task force the Obama administration set up to listen to community concerns ended in resignations of key task force members and made no significant changes to the program.7
MISREPRESENTATION: Ms. Muñoz stated that the cases of the 300,000 people currently in deportation proceedings would be reviewed, and that low-priority cases like those of DREAM Act students and those with strong ties to the U.S. would be dismissed.8
FACT: The Obama administration has not begun its review of these 300,000 cases. DREAM Act students are in deportation proceeding as you read this. Reports from the ground suggest that not only is the Obama administration not using discretion with the people it deports, but that immigration agents are actually pursuing enforcement even more aggressively.9 The United We Dream Network, an undocumented youth-led organization, reported that even after the announcement, they are aware of at least 100 DREAM eligible youth who are still in deportation proceedings.10
Ms. Muñoz's defense of Obama Administration policies that place massive numbers of immigrants in that system is inexcusable.
Click below to sign a petition asking Cecilia Muñoz to set the record straight and denounce S-COMM.
Thanks and ¡adelante!
Felipe, Favianna, Roberto, Laurie, Carlos, Kyle and the rest of the Presente.org Team
1. "Lost in Detention" on PBS' Frontline website
2. "Report: Secure Communities Encourages Racial Profiling, Lack of Due Process", Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, 10/20/11
3. "In the Debate Over Immigration and Deportations, the Facts Matter," White House blog, 8/16/11
4. "FY 2011: ICE announces year-end removal numbers, highlights focus on key priorities including threats to public safety and national security," Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 10/18/11
5. "Yes, Mr. President, the Facts do Matter," National Immigrant Justice Center, 8/18/11
6."Open-Borders Obama Sets New Deportation Record," Mother Jones, 10/18/11
7. "Secure Communities Task Force Releases Recommendations, Five;Members Resign In Disagreement," Huffington Post, 9/16/11
8. "Immigration Update: Maximizing Public Safety and Better Focusing Resources," White House blog, 8/18/11;
9. "MIA: Obama's New Common-Sense Immigration Policy," 7/27/11
10. "An Open Letter To Cecilia Muñoz," Endourpain.com, 8/11/11